Singapore Student Geographers turn in Best Performance with 3 Golds at the 13th IGEO in Beijing, China

1. The Singapore team has obtained 3 Golds and 1 Bronze at the 13th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) held in Beijing China from 16 – 22 August 2016. This placed us 2nd out of the 45 participating countries and is our best medal haul since we started participating in 2010.

2. Chermaine Tan Si Ying (Dunman High School), Kevin Tong Weng Jin and Tham Jia Yi (Raffles Institution) were awarded the Gold medal, while Isabel Tia Hui Li (Hwa Chong Institution) clinched the Bronze medal. The team’s poster on Singapore’s strategies for sustainable development was one of the four selected to be showcased at the 33rd International Geographical Congress, which takes place after the iGeo. The Singapore team was led by Ms Erin Ng and Ms Celestine Hang, Curriculum Planning Officers from MOE.

3. Sustainable development and urban liveability were the central themes in the 13th iGeo. Both themes require integrating the study of human and physical geography to find sustainable solutions to global challenges, which is a feature of both international geographical education and Singapore’s revised GCE A-Level Geography syllabuses. During the fieldwork exercise, students identified features in Beijing’s urban landscape which may limit sustainability and liveability. They applied their knowledge and observations to propose solutions that would enhance the quality of life for residents in the city. In the poster presentation, our team showcased national strategies for a sustainable city that included the development of Jurong Rock Caverns, Deep Tunnel Sewerage System and underground pedestrian networks.

4. This year’s team attributes their interest in Geography to the relevance of geographical knowledge and skills to real world contexts. Showing his appreciation for opportunities to go on school field trips, Kevin said, “The many field trips to places like Sisters’ Island, Sentosa and Labrador Park introduced real world applications of Geography to us, and it really ignited my passion in Geography.”

5. Chermaine shared that fieldwork has helped her view everyday life through a different lens. She said, “I have become more sensitive to the needs of the elderly and families with young children as I encounter these vulnerable groups during fieldwork.” Isabel enjoyed her time as a participant in the National Geography Talent Development Programme, saying, “I developed an interest in learning about physical landforms after a professor showed us lesser known landforms and told us funny stories about them!” Jia Yi also developed a more critical appreciation of political geography as he follows current affairs on territorial and transboundary resource disputes, noting that “Geography can explain many of the conflicts we see in the news today.”

6. The Ministry of Education congratulates our aspiring student geographers. More information on the iGeo and Singapore’s past performance can be found in the Annex.

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