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Oklahoma withdraws geographic education fund

Oklahoma, US: In an era of widespread adoption of GIS and remote sensing technology, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (in the US) withdrew funds from teacher training programmes for geographic education.
This action is seen as a major setback to GIS education by Douglas A Hurt, associate professor of geography at the University of Central Oklahoma and a member of the steering committee of the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education. Hurt stressed that geographic skills are needed to become informed in an increasingly globalised society and knowledge-based economy.
Through a column published in NewsOk, Hurt explained that geographic illiteracy is pervasive in many American schools. A 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) survey of more than 26,000 students showed that only one-fourth of students in the fourth, eighth and 12th grades scored at a “proficient” level, demonstrating a solid understanding of geographic material. More disturbingly, only 1 percent to 3 percent of surveyed students performed at the “advanced” level, designating superior performance.
Hurt further added that state high schools rarely offer courses designated as geography that prepare students for college coursework. Rarely, on any level, is geography taught as a stand-alone course led by an educator with extensive college geography coursework.
Therefore, funding in geographic studies is important to promote the role of GIS education to prepare geographic leaders of future. For this purpose, Hurt opines that funding of teacher training programmes for geographic education through in-service workshops and summer institutes is necessary if students are to be exposed to intellectually rich geographic courses. 
Source: NewsOk