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Is Singapore’s School Geography Relevant to Our Changing World?

Author(s): Chew-Hung CHANG

Journal: Review of International Geographical Education Online
ISSN 2146-0353

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 141;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: school geography | education for sustainable development | curriculum development | assessment

How school geography should be taught has been a longstanding issue for geography educators. In some countries, state or national level curriculum predicates how the subject should be taught in schools. This paper examines these questions in relation to existing frameworks of conceptualizing school geography, such as the International Charter on Geographical Education. School geography in Singapore has evolved from regional geography to thematic geography to systematic geography. A review of the curriculum in 2007 resulted in a distinct form of school geography unprecedented in Singapore’s education history. Today, school geography in Singapore is learnt conceptually with national level assessment designed to that end. To what extent is this evolution in curriculum design in step with changes in our world? In response to the changes in school geography, pre-service and in-service teacher training has also responded by focusing on conceptual learning and inquiry. This paper will explore the state of school geography curricula in Singapore today, and the curriculum of teacher training, with the intent to critically discuss the state of geography education in Singapore. Although geography has remained a disciplinary subject whose place has yet been disputed, the big question of why study geography in the first place needs to be answered to ensure its continued survival. In particular, school geography will be examined for its relevance to a fast changing world. This critique ends by offering a reason to how geography plays an important role in education for sustainable development, and its relevance to Singaporeans or even any citizen of the world.

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