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School geography
Education for sustainable development
Curriculum development
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Chang, C. H. (2011). Is Singapore’s school geography relevant to our changing world? Review of International Geographical Education Online, 1(2), 141-157.
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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