Azara Blog: GCSE geography is supposed to be given a modern make-over

Blog home page | Blog archive

Google   Bookmark and Share

Date published: 2008/04/14

The BBC says:

The impact of Tesco on local high streets is to become part of the syllabus in a modern "make-over" for GCSE geography.

The OCR exam board wants a more contemporary feel for the subject - including topics such as examining the influence of retail giants.

It also proposes studying climate change and the type of flooding that hit Tewkesbury last year.
The move to make geography more engaging follows a highly-critical report earlier this year from Ofsted inspectors - who warned that the subject was too often boring and lacking in relevance for young people.
This issues-based approach to geography was backed by Friends of the Earth as a sign of "geography GCSE moving with the times".

The environmental campaigners' education co-ordinator, Vicki Felgate, says that "issues such as how our consumer choices impact upon the world around us is vital to giving young people an understanding of how they can be responsible citizens".
Robert Whelan, deputy director of the think-tank Civitas, says geography has become a vehicle for promoting environmentalism - which "spoon feeds pious truisms".

"It's part of a process of removing academic content and replacing it with politically correct dogma," he said

These are issues that certainly seem like they ought to be on a modern geography course. The only problem, as Whelan points out, is that it is extremly likely that there will be an academic middle class bias in the presentation. Indeed, the fact that Friends of the Earth (a typical academic middle class organisation) is so keen on the idea already tells you how biased it is likely to be. So when Felgate talks about "giving young people an understanding of how they can be responsible citizens" what she means is that she wants to brainwash kids to believe that Tesco is evil (and indeed, that all corporations above a certain size are evil). Of course the majority of people in the UK do not believe that Tesco is evil, because they shop there (and at other equivalent supermarkets). This drives the academic middle class ballistic. How dare the peasants not do as instructed by the clever clogs of the academic middle class. Unfortunately for FoE (and the other members of the academic middle class), decades of spoon-feeding religious propaganda to students has had little effect, and forcing anti-corporation propaganda down their throats is unlikely to have much effect either (the academic middle class students largely already believe this crap, and the other students will just ignore it).

All material not included from other sources is copyright For further information or questions email: info [at] cambridge2000 [dot] com (replace "[at]" with "@" and "[dot]" with ".").