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'The importance hasn't gone away': Calls for geography to be brought back as core subject

Geography was removed as a core subject from the Junior Cert last year.

Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE HEADS OF geography departments at six universities have written an open letter criticising the decision to remove geography as a mandatory subject at Junior Cert level. 

History and geography were removed as core subjects from the Junior Cert last year but the decision to remove history is currently under review.  

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Dr Kieran Hickey of UCC said he wants the Department of Education to reconsider its decision on geography, as it is “critically” important.

“It was a core subject for the Junior Cert for a very long time and the reasons for that are because it was considered to be a very important subject, and that importance hasn’t gone away,” he said. 

Hickey says there are pushing the Department of Education to change the decision and the fact that they are reconsidering their decision to remove history as a core subject means “there is some flexibility left”.

In an open letter, published in the Irish Times, the heads of the geography departments said it was “vitally important that all secondary school students have a geographic training so that they can become active participants in tackling national and global issues”.

As we live in a world increasingly defined by these “wicked problems” with multiple causes and interactions, the next generation of Irish decision-makers need to be equipped with the practical and analytical skills to effectively address them – this starts in primary and secondary schools.

While students will be still able to study geography as an optional subject, Hickey worries that by not making it compulsory it will affect the attitudes of parents and of schools in how they provide for it.

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Adam Daly

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