The move to make History as a compulsory subject for SPM students has sidelined the importance of Geography in secondary schools.
Several schools in Seremban have dropped the subject from their SPM list since it is an elective and this, in turn, has seen fewer candidates sit the subject in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination.
Up to the 1980s, until Form Three, Geography lessons covered all the continents and the subject was compulsory for science stream students in Forms Four and Five. Geography is the study of Earth, which is the fifth largest planet in the solar system, and it is known as Boomi Nool in Tamil, meaning Earth Book.
It helps one to have an understanding of countries and capitals so that one can relate to what one reads in newspapers or watches on television. Studying this living subject helps you to know the climate, fauna and flora of countries.
From trade and commerce, you will know countries’ imports and exports, natural disasters, vegetation, weather, population, occupations, transportation, economy, demography, wildlife, forests, fishery, poultry, urbanisation, agriculture, industries, mining, energy resources, continents and oceans.
Contrary to popular belief that the Netherlands produces only cheese, it is the largest producer of soy sauce in the world. In short, studying Geography helps you to know ethnic groups, cultures, religions and languages of countries.
The move to make History as a compulsory subject for SPM students has sidelined the importance of Geography in secondary schools. Pix by ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ.
It will help you to plan your travel overseas for vacations as well as to pack the right clothes according to the seasons of the country.
With fewer students studying Geography from Form Four onwards, Malaysians will one day become like the Americans in the 1970s, who thought we were living on trees.
With the present Geography focusing more on Asia, even youngsters are clueless about where football World Cup-winning countries — such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Italy, England and Spain — are located. I recall reading about 11-year-old Tilly Smith, from Oxshott, Surrey, the United Kingdom, who spotted key tsunami signs in the sea in Phuket, Thailand, which she had remembered from a geography lesson two weeks earlier.
Her action saved more than 100 tourists during the 2004 tsunami.
I love History, but killing Geography to promote History is like robbing from Peter to pay Paul, which will be detrimental to the younger generation, who should be taught to love Earth and care for it. I have never regretted studying Geography because I know that I have learnt many things that the rest of the subjects will never be able to offer.