Importance’s of geography and its place in school curriculum are as follows:
At present geography is one of the important subjects in school curriculum.
Geography derives a lot of material from such subjects as Biology, Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, Mathematics, Chemistry and other sciences.
The subject matter of geography includes study of natural environment of man and also the study of social and cultural environment. Thus geography has a very wide scope unparalleled by any other subject.
Geography is a science and an art. It tries to train and develop good citizens who may be able to solve various social economic and political problems of the country. The importance of geography can be understood more clearly by considering the effect of geography teaching on man as a human being, as an administrator, as a politician etc.
We shall also have to consider the practical importance of geography, Economic importance geography, political and social importance, cultural and intellectual importance etc. The importance of geography is discussed under various heads in the following pages.
(i) Importance of Geography for administrators and politicians:
To run the administration efficiently it is essential for the administrator to have a thorough knowledge of the geography of the country. In the absence of knowledge of geographical conditions of a country it becomes difficult to run the administration efficiently.
Geographical factors affect the Economic, political and social life of the inhabitants of an area. From knowledge of geography it becomes easier to know about inter-dependence of people of various countries.
In the present age no country can live without taking help from other countries and to have a proper and cordial relationship the knowledge of geography is quite helpful. The administrators in a developed country are on the lookout for a country where their finished and manufactured goods may find a good market.
In this adventure the knowledge of geographical conditions of a country are quite handy to the administrator. Such knowledge can help the administrator to establish beneficial relationship with other countries and their neighboring world.
(ii) Political Importance:
To gain in political importance the knowledge of geography of other countries is essential for any country and even for an individual. It is only by the knowledge of geographical conditions that we develop sympathy for any particular country.
For example if you happen to live in a fertile country it would not be difficult for you to imagine the plight of a fellow being living in a desert. Thus the knowledge of geography helps to bring about the world together and in this way it helps to solve a number of political problems. Thus knowledge of geography is of political importance.
(iii) Practical Importance:
Knowledge of geography is quite handy to prepare the students to face various problems of life. If a student is familiar with the natural conditions of a country, its climate, vegetation, natural resources, mineral wealth etc., then it becomes easier for him to plan his future.
Such a knowledge can be of much help to would be industrialists of a country and a student of geography interested in setting up an industry after the completion of his education can make a better selection for the location of his industrial unit keeping in mind the natural resources needed.
The knowledge of geography is also helpful to an individual in developing social, political and economic relationships with the other countries. Thus we find that the knowledge of geography has a practical utility.
(iv) Cultural and Intellectual Importance of Geography:
Knowledge of geography helps us in acquiring the knowledge about cultural and intellectual life of a particular country and in this way it becomes easier to carry out a proper study of the cultural life of whole world.
The knowledge of geography also helps a student in developing his power of imagination and also encourages him to find out cause and effect of various phenomenons.
When a student of geography learns about the mountains, rivers, forests etc. then an image of all these things is formed before him. Whenever he actually comes across any of these things he can identify them and discern them easily. Such knowledge helps the student to know about the cultures and civilization of different countries.
Geographical factors also influence the intellectual life of a country so we can say that geography has an intellectual importance. In the words of Fairgrieve, “The real value of geography lies in the fact that it helps man to place himself in the world to learn his true’ position and duties”.
(v) Economic Importance:
Geography has its economical importance as well. Knowledge of geography helps us to know about various natural resources of a country or a region in a country. Such knowledge can be used for the economic progress of a country or a region. We flourish in the world only if we have economic prosperity.
(vi) Social Importance:
A knowledge of geography helps a student in developing a proper social outlook. A proper social outlook develops a feeling of brotherhood for the nationals of other countries and makes a student broad minded. He no more remains self-centered and he develops a feeling of world citizenship. Thus knowledge of geography has a social importance.
(vii) Importance for earning a livelihood:
We spend a major part of our life in earning our livelihood and the knowledge of geography can help us to a large extent in this. Such knowledge is also helpful to us to utilize our leisure time in a beneficial way.
It is the knowledge that we gained in geography about the things and conditions prevailing around us that help us in this. The knowledge of geography has given us the knowledge of various sources that are available and which could be profitable tapped to earn our livelihood.
(viii) Natural Curiosity:
We have a natural curiosity to know more and more about the life style of people in other lands and countries. The knowledge of geography helps to satisfy this natural curiosity and also throws light on the various factors that influence our life style. Thus geography has a important role in satisfying our natural curiosities.
(ix) Importance in Understanding other subjects:
Knowledge of geography helps us in understanding various other subjects (e.g. sociology, economics, Anthropology, Biology etc.) For example knowledge of geography helps in understanding history because it provides the proper perspective.
Various historical events have been influenced by geographical factors. The development of civilization began in India and Egypt because of geographical reasons.
Geographical factors also influence the political system in a country. The prevalence of democracy in Switzerland is due to geographical factors.
To acquire a thorough and proper knowledge of political science the knowledge of geography is essential. The social life and structure of society in a country is governed to a large extent by various geographical factors prevailing in that country.
Knowledge of geography also helps to properly understand the subject matter of sociology. Thus we find that knowledge of geography is important in understanding and acquiring the knowledge of various social sciences.
Thus we find that geography occupies an important place in various fields of life. Knowledge of geography also inculcates a spirit of patriotism and internationalism. Because of this geography occupies an important place in primary, secondary and higher education.
President Eisenhower of America called Geography the foundation of humanity.
P.E. James gives the following reasons for the importance of geography.
(i) Geography helps us to have a proper picture of man and his environment.
(ii) Geography gives us information about various types of climates, natural conditions, mineral wealth etc. of the various nations.
(iii) With the knowledge of geography we can read and discern the maps, sketches, diagrams etc.
(iv) It develops our power of observation.
In view of Fairgrieve the two principles that make the knowledge of geography impertinent and important areas under:
(i) We spend about 2/3rd of our life in dealing with our neighbors and countryman. In this period we perform the duties as good citizens. The knowledge of geography helps us in performance of these duties.
(ii) A knowledge of geography comes handy to know about the economic needs of the people of other countries and such knowledge helps the industrialists, agriculturists, politicians etc. in better performance of their job.