Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures and Histories, and Australia’s relationships with Asia may form part of a recently adopted geography syllabus, according to drafts released by the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES). Alex Dalland reports.

According to BOSTES, the new syllabus will approach the topic of geography from an international perspective, with a focus on core skills.

“The update of the new Geography syllabus places greater emphasis on fieldwork, new technologies, and, importantly, how all we do as inhabitants of the local area, country, world is interrelated,” he said.

“There is no longer a strict division between Australian and Global Geography. Students can zoom in and out, from the local area to the world.”

Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli believes the changes will keep geography in line with other updated syllabus materials that help to ensure a modern curriculum.

“Geography joins the recently released K–10 English, mathematics, science and history syllabuses, and demonstrates ongoing work in NSW to ensure our students benefit from learning that is both interesting and relevant,” he said.

However, president of the Australian Geography Teachers Association Grant Kleeman believes that the syllabus has been left with a few imperfect changes.

“The NSW Syllabus is a faithful interpretation of the national geography syllabus, with a couple of bizarre exceptions. From year 7 to 8, and from year 8 to 9, several topics have been swapped.

“This is going to complicate things for any kid moving interstate.”

The updated syllabus is expected to be rolled out across schools in NSW beginning in 2016.