Geographia Polonica (2014) vol. 87, iss. 2

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Changes, challenges and responsibilities in geographical education: The International Geography Olympiad

Lex Chalmers, Kathryn Berg

Geographia Polonica (2014) vol. 87, iss. 2, pp. 267-276
doi: https://doi.org/10.7163/GPol.2014.17

Abstract

Geography has never been so accessible; new media present documentaries about diverse places, supported by travelogues that ask intriguing questions, with superb imagery of natural and cultural features, all supported by emerging digital cartographies. These geographies reach many more people than the well-cited texts of 19th century geographers such as Humboldt and Ritter, yet the paradox is that contemporary Geography is not identified as a critical part of the educational entitlement of young people. The essay explores this paradox with reference to the changes in education in the last 150 years and a commentary on the scholars and institutional frameworks that share responsibility for the current and future status of the discipline. Since 1996 the International Geographical Union (IGU) has accepted a key challenge faced by Geography; the process of fostering the regeneration of the discipline by engaging young people. The IGU has supported ten International Geography Olympiads since 1996, with the eleventh Olympiad scheduled for Cracow in 2014. The essay outlines the nature of the Olympiad where field trips and cultural activities provide an unparalleled experience for young scholars exhibiting international excellence in Geography. These young people are our future.

Keywords: young geographers, geographical education, International Geography Olympiad, Cracow, International Geographical Union, International Year of Global Understanding

Lex Chalmers, University of Waikato Geography, Tourism & Environmental Planning 3210, Hamilton: New Zealand
Kathryn Berg, Royal Geographical Society of Queensland 237 Milton Rd, 4064 Queensland: Australia