Make geography regular subject in schools, colleges: Scholars : The Tribune India

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Make geography regular subject in schools, colleges: Scholars

SHIMLA: While degradation of environment and climate changes are emerging as major issues of concern world over, geography which provides basic information for understanding environmental problems is being largely ignored and the subject is not taught in most of the government senior secondary schools and colleges in Himachal.



Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 28

While degradation of environment and climate changes are emerging as major issues of concern world over, geography which provides basic information for understanding environmental problems is being largely ignored and the subject is not taught in most of the government senior secondary schools and colleges in Himachal.

Out of 1,841 senior secondary schools and 134 government colleges, geography is taught as a regular subject only in 238 (12.92%) schools and 55 (41%) colleges and 1,603 schools and 79 colleges are without geography as a subject.

“Geography is popular among students and 300 postgraduates from Himachal have qualified for UGC — Junior Research Fellowship and National Eligibility Test (NET) but there are very little employment opportunities, say research scholars in the Geography Department of Himachal Pradesh University,” said Manoj Sharma and Ritesh Kumar, representatives of research scholars.

The research scholars have urged the government to introduce geography as a regular subject in all government senior secondary schools and colleges and pointed out that this subject which is “incredibly diverse and relevant” had been ignored both at school and college level in Himachal Pradesh since its inception.

In a memorandum to the government, these research scholars said” “There is a feeling of growing uncertainty regarding our career and we fail to understand why University Grants Commission and Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission are holding UGC NET/SLET regularly without absorbing the already eligible candidates in the higher education system”.

An ill-conceived argument that geography being a practical subject needs a laboratory and includes huge financial liability upon the state exchequer was being propagated but a reconnaissance survey revealed that in almost all schools and colleges where geography is being taught, the total investment in the name of practical laboratory ranges between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh in some old colleges and colleges located at district headquarter.

Geography as a subject has not been introduced in all newly opened colleges so far and due to this many M.Phil and Ph.D degree holders eligible to teach as per the UGC and state government norms are facing the problem of chronic unemployment and uncertain career.

The students who wish to pursue their career as a geography teacher, town planner, cartographer, environmental planner and policy formulation contributor are forced to go to neighbouring states to study the subject, the memorandum said.

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