CGE Says Canadian Kids Need More Geography In School

Published October 23, 2013

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According to Canadian Geographic  Education, children in Canadian public schools today are lacking in what they call geographical literacy. Established in 1993, the CGE’s main aim is to:

…strengthen geographic education in the classroom.

Geography, once a staple subject learned in school, has waned recently with the introduction of more advanced methods of exploring our earth; namnely the internet and other digital products that make finding this information much easier than busting out the old map or atlas. Additionally, CGE goes on to say:

In addition to increasing the emphasis on geography within the school system, Canadian Geographic Education endeavours to increase the public awareness of the importance of geographical literacy.

While these are great goals, it does beg the question: Do kids really need to spend valuable school time learning geography in today’s technological world? The opponents of this point of view say that it isn’t necessary for kids to learn geography on it’s own. They say it will come with other subjects: history, humanities, civics, etc. Taking out special class time just to learn the capital of various countries isn’t necessary anymore. The world is more integrated, and that in formation is more readily available if needed.

Proponents of the debate say that since the world is more integrated and intertwined, kids need, now more than ever, to be able to understand our world on a greater level. They need to understand where Peru is on the map when learning about the lost city of Machu Picchu. Without geography, the framework of what truly happened or is happening is a bit tougher to understand.

Understanding the slave trade and Venezuela’s close proximity to the Carribean Sea, which is the stop on the way over from Africa, helps students better understand the various cultural and ethnic ingredients that go into the traditional food of Venezuela. While I’m sure this debate will rage on into the future, the underlying question is always close at hand: what is the best way to spend our limited resources of time and money on children in the public education system. Is it computer programming classes, geography, reading, or foreign languages?

These questions are highly personal and spark heated debates. Debate is a good thing, and I believe it has forced us to take a harder, closer look at how we are spending our education dollars and what the best return on investment is for our children and their future. As more information becomes available, the world and it’s educational demands continue to change. Computer classes were not being talked about 20 years ago.. and now they are in many educational plans throughout the country.

As the times change, so must the curriculum. Whether or not geography is still necessary is only one small debate in the larger picture: how do we insure our kids are ready to take care of the next generation.

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