On my virtual travels this week, I have been pondering the value of geography in education. As an example, the national curriculum in England programme of study for Geography describes as its purpose ‘a high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.’
While I agree with the sentiment, this purpose does not go far enough. A quick search for the term ‘global citizen’ or even ‘citizen’ within the document comes up with a blank. Yet surely the valuable time spent with young people at all ages teaching Geography at school should be about inspiring them with a sense of global citizenship through understanding the world’s human and physical geography. Surely then it becomes a mandatory subject throughout a young person’s learning from early years to post-16.
As a society, we will learn much from our experiences of the current Covid-19 pandemic and its resolution. This must surely include recognising and valuing our global connectedness as a strength, and taking steps to nurture compassionate global citizens of the future.
Take a little time to reflect on the global fight against Covid-19. As of today, the total number of confirmed cases in the 79 countries visited is 2,698,624 (UN World Health Organisation). All but 3 of these countries have reported cases, and all but 9 at least 1 death. 176,267 people are known to have died in these countries ‘visited’ to date, although even a brief review of the statistics suggests real numbers are distorted due to differential access to testing. Globally over 8.3 million cases have been reported worldwide, with 449,182 deaths. Behind each of these numbers are human lives lost and changed forever.
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