What follows is yet to be organized and cited. It will be soon.
  • From 1985 Geography became compulsory up to the ninth year of schooling and was then offered as an elective subject for matric. The syllabus objectives were devised to impart geographical knowledge, develop skills, improve perception of the environment and encourage appraisal of actions that impact on the environment. The skills to be developed were oracy, literacy, numeracy, graphicacy and fieldwork techniques. It was noted that graphicacy and interpretation skills are both developed by map work, which 'should be integrated with every section of the syllabus' (Transvaal Education Department Syllabus, 1983: 10).
  • "Unless Geography enjoys the status of school subjects that are compulsory for acceptance into courses at tertiary level it will never be able to stand its ground in contending for effectively trained teachers," (Innes)
  • South Africa became democratic in 1994.
  • Since then, drastic changes have been made to education policy and curriculum.
  • In the early stages of curriculum renewal, the position of geography in the new curriculum structure seemed somewhat precarious.
  • However, developments at the turn of the century placed geography in a secure place of prominence in this post-apartheid educational system.
  • 1997 - "the replacement of the 42 school subjects offered to learners in South African primary schools by eight learning areas. In a sense, the learning areas combine the old subjects, ostensibly to promote a more holistic and integrated approach. Each learning area has curriculum-linked outcomes which learners should attain through engaging with learning activities.
  • When Curriculum 2005 was launched in 1997 there was concern among geographers and geography teachers that the distinctive character of geography could be lost since aspects of human geography were located in the human and social sciences learning area and physical geography was located in the natural sciences learning area" (Binns, 1999)
  • "The South African geography community based its criticism of these curriculum developments on the fact that geography as a discipline comprised several fields of knowledge such as economics, conservation, hydrology, politics, demography, development studies, regional studies, spatial literacy, environmental studies, energy studies, pedology, biogeography, meteorology, clkimnatology, geophysics, geology and astronomy" (Earle and Keats, 1996; Van der Merwe, 1996), and that these fields might become lost or diluted if not integrated into a separate geography learning area.
  • This request was not accepted by the Department of Education, so geography remained split, with physical geography being a part of the natural sciences and human geography being a part of the social sciences.
  • Further complicating things, the 2005 curriculum did not contain any specific content for geography. The rationalle was that teachers should be able to design their own geography curriculum.

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  • How effectively geographical knowledge and processes could be used to achieve these outcomes would depend largely on the depth of the teacher's knowledge and experience of teaching geography. If, for example, the teacher teaching human and social sciences has a history background then history may be fore-grounded in the classroom. It is in the light of this possibility that geographers were concerned at the time that Curriculum 20905 'emasculates the subject by forcing it into a social education framework' (Ballantyne, 1999).
  • "Such concern is warrranted because geogaphy teachers in parts of the USA and Australia are struggling to regain the subject's identity since it has been absorbed into social studies frameworks in these countries" (Binns, 1999).
  • The Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS) of 2002 gave geography a distinctive identidy in the social sciences. Geography got its own learning outcomes. They are: 1. Geographical enquiry --The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate geographical and environmental concepts and processes. 2. Knowledge and understanding --The learner will be able to demonstrate geographical and environmental knowledge and understandings. 3. Exploring issues-- The learner will be able to make informaed decisions about social and environmental issues and problems.
  • "Furthermore, progression across grades is made possible through assessment standards that have been defined for each learning outcome.
  • South African Qualification Authorityu (SAQA): practical competence is the demonstrated ability to perform a set of tasks ain an authentic context. A range of actions or possibilities is considered, and decisions are made about which actions to follow. Foundational competence is the demonstrated understanding of what the learner is doing and why. This underpins the practical competence and therefore the actions taken. Reflexive competence is the demonstrated ability to integrate performance with understanding, so as to show that the learner is able to adapt to changed circumstances appropriately and responsibly, and to explain the reason for an action.
  • The learning outcomes for geography that embody the above-mentioned competences are the following: Geographical skills and techniques (practical competence)- The learner is able to demonstrate a range of geographical skills and techniques. Knowledge and understanding (foundational competence) - The learner is able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of precesses and spatial patterns dealing with interactions between humans, and between humans and the environment in space and time. Application (reflexive competence) - The learning is able to apply geographical skills and knowledge to environmental issues and challenges, recognise values and attitudes, and demonstrate the ability to recommend solutions and strategies.
  • In some parts of South Africa, students are offered the choice of taking tourism classes instead of geography. This is due to the high unemployment rate and the growing industry of tourism.
  • Nel and Binns (1999) point out that the traditioal senior South African geography syllabus is dominated by the thinking of western academic geography, and has a strong 'eurocentric' focus, reflecting the traditional values of 'White' South Africa...one of the principles of the NCS is the valuing of indigenous knowledge. The principle of valuing indigenous knowledge is captured in the document as follows: Indigenous knowledge systems in the South African context refer to a body of knowledge embedded in AFrican philosophical thinking and social practices that have evolved over thousands of years...It acknowledges the rich history and heritage of this country as important contributors to nurturing the values contained in the Constitution