Many benefits from more robust geography curriculum

Drawing links between physical and human geography is not foreign to the subject ("Updated JC geography curriculum worries some"; Feb 22).

The older syllabuses had always sought to integrate the two, albeit to a smaller extent.

The content taught in school also connects both aspects, including the measures taken by countries in response to natural disasters and their respective successes.

To draw a clear line between the world's natural and human aspects would be to deprive the discipline of its essence.

That there is now a greater emphasis on the interconnectedness of human and physical geography only serves to highlight the useful skill of drawing connections between ideas and concepts.

Students should not be deterred from taking the subject because of the perceived adverse impact on their grades, but should rather focus on the benefits that a more robust curriculum would yield.

Geography offers valuable tools for students to comprehend and analyse complex ideas, patterns and data. Students are trained to analyse questions and reason convincingly. These skills can not only be applied across disciplines, but will also prepare the students for lifelong learning.

The students' apprehension seen in the article indicates a worrying trend among younger Singaporeans that places an emphasis on grades over one's learning experience.

Practical decision-making should not detract us from the fundamental purpose of education, which is to educate.

Although an overemphasis on grades may be inevitable in a meritocratic system, the perspectives that one can gain in taking a humanities subject like geography are far more valuable than the distinction in one's result slip.

Indeed, I have found many rewards from my days of studying humanities subjects, including geography, in junior college.

While academic excellence should be every student's pursuit, let us not reduce the subject to merely a means to an end.

Jolene Ng Lok Xuan (Ms)