Sir, – The decision to remove history as a core Junior Cycle subject in our schools has garnered much attention recently from the President, universities and concerned citizens. Unfortunately the decision to remove geography has not received the same publicity.
Geography is the only subject that teaches young people about the issues of sustainability, inequality and migration. Ireland is facing a future of environmental instability, rising inequalities and resource depletion. We are already experiencing the effects of climate change with the increased severity of recent storms. It is essential that we have citizens equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to face these problems and find sustainable solutions. An education in geography is the only way of ensuring this. Geography students learn about why global temperatures are rising, how to tackle inequality, the reasons people are migrating, and how to respond to natural disasters.
Ireland is part of the global community working towards the sustainable development goals, a roadmap to ending poverty and inequality, protecting the environment and ensuring peace by 2030. We cannot expect to achieve these goals if we do not have a population educated in geography.
The announcement by the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh that there will be a review of the decision to make history an optional Junior Cycle subject has received much praise.
It is essential that Mr McHugh also reviews the decision to make geography optional. – Yours, etc,