Young Geographers Clinched Awards at the 12th International Geography Olympiad

Published Date: 19 August 2015 12:00 AM

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1. The Ministry of Education (MOE) congratulates the Singapore team for their performance at the 12th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) held in Tver, Russia, from 10 to 18 August 2015. This is the fifth year that Singapore is taking part in the competition.

2. The Singapore team obtained 3 Silver medals and 1 Bronze medal. The Silver medalists are Mr Wan Jia Cheng, Mr Yao Jiayun and Mr Toh Yu Ze from Raffles Institution. The Bronze medalist is Mr Caleb Goh Teng Hian from the School of the Arts (SOTA). This is also the first time that a student from SOTA is representing Singapore in iGeo.

3. As part of the competition, students had to prepare a poster related to the topic, “Imagine Your Place in the Future”, contextualized to their home country. The Singapore team’s poster idea on Sustainable Public Housing was to integrate recreational, commercial and green spaces in the public housing. Their presentation came in 1st amongst 41 countries, receiving the most votes from the iGeo community. Voters were drawn to the well-thought-out strategies in the proposed Sustainable Public Housing, and the high quality visual and oral presentation by the team.

4. This year’s team attributes their interest in Geography to the relevance of Geography skills and application of their knowledge to real-world context. Yu Ze has always been interested in the human condition, such as the challenges faced by urban populations, as well as issues related to Climate Change. Jiayun feels empowered by the global perspectives that Geography equips him with, to understand issues in Climate Change. Additionally, Caleb discovered his passion for urban planning and Jia Cheng developed an appreciation of the physical world. Despite their varied interests, all are drawn to Geography because the discipline helps them frame their understanding of these issues in a holistic way.

5. The Singapore delegation was led by Mdm Tan Li Ling and Ms Erin Ng, Curriculum Planning Officers from MOE.

A Joint Effort

6. The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) brings together outstanding 16 to 19 year old Geography students from around the world, challenging and stimulating their minds in the spirit of competition. iGeo is organised annually by the International Geographical Union (IGU). The IGU was established in 1922 and represents the interests of geographers from 104 countries including Singapore. The IGU facilitates the participation of geographers in the global community of scientists through its affiliation to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and International Social Science Council (ISSC).

7. Our students’ participation in the International Geography Olympiad is a joint effort between MOE and the following organisations:

  • Department of Geography, National University of Singapore;
  • National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University; and
  • Geography Teachers’ Association of Singapore.

8. Members of the Singapore team were selected from participants of the National University of Singapore Geography Challenge 2014 and National Geography Talent Development Programme (TDP). The TDP is designed to nurture students’ passion in Geography and deepen their knowledge of the subject. The TDP is supported by the abovementioned organisations.

9. To do well in iGeo, students are required to have a good mastery of a wide range of physical and human geography topics. They also need to apply geographical knowledge and skills to solve problems in unfamiliar contexts. The iGeo tests consist of a written response test, a multimedia component and a fieldwork component. For the fieldwork test this year, students had to recommend strategies to address issues within Tver, by considering the economic, social and demographic characteristics of the place. In this component, they also had to conduct a population survey to establish the number of households in the area, identify abandoned and occupied buildings, before sketching the town land use from a vantage point.

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