Commission of Geographical and Environmental Education

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Chairman of the Commission

Kasimov Nikolay Sergeevich

First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society, Dean of the Faculty of Geography of Moscow State University, Doctor of Geographical Sciences, Professor, Academician of  the Russian Academy of Sciences

The Commission of the Russian Geographical Society of geographical and environmental education was reconstructed in 2013 and is sequential. At the moment the priority areas of the Commission is to promote geographical and environmental knowledge, to participate in development and review of informative programs and educational materials, to stimulate and develop  research and conservation activities of young people.

Members of the Commission contribute to the professional development of teaching staff, support professional and personal growth of young teachers of geography. They are involved in publication of modern teaching aids, they help in drafting the Russian Geographical Society projects, perform as experts in evaluation of grant applications. Also they organize expeditions and field workshops, conduct competitions in the field of geography and ecology, public meetings, conferences, lectures and roundtables with the participation of young and experienced professionals.

Commission is chaired by First Vice-President of the Russian Geographical Society, Dean of the Faculty of Geography of Lomonosov Moscow State University, academician N.S.Kasimov. The Commission consists of leading experts in the field of geography, pedagogy and methods of teaching - representatives of the largest universities in the country, leading research and educational institutions, educational centers, as well as regional offices of the Russian Geographical Society.

From the history of the Russian Geographical Society

An urgent need to establish a commission of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society on issues of learning geography arose because of the introduction of the new university Charter in 1884. According to the statute Departments of Geography were created in universities. The Audit Committee of the Society wanted the Society to develop proposals on methods of teaching geography in higher and specialized secondary educational institutions. Created for this purpose in 1887, the commission was headed by the future Vice-Chairman of the Society P.P. Semenov.

In 1907 Y.M. Shokalsky became the chairman of the Geographic and educational commission. Members of the Commission were preparing a report on the need of the physical geography course in secondary schools, discussing complex and contentious issues of geographic pedagogy, were engaged in critical analysis of textbooks of geography. At the initiative of the Society in 1918 in St. Petersburg the world's first special geographical institution of higher education was founded. It was called Geographical Institute, and in 1919 - the Central Geographical Museum.

In future issues of academic geography were not reflected in the Society’s work up to 1933, when the first All-Union Congress of geographers was convened. It had the school subsection. The Society drew  the attention of a wide range of geographers to the issues of geographical education and thus contributed to the resumption of the work in this field.

Some time later, in 1935, at a citywide meeting of teachers of geography of secondary school a proposal was made to form the School Committee under the State Geographic Society. Thus, in 1936 the School Committee under the leadership of V.A. Gavrilov officially started to work. Active part in its activities took teachers of geography who had been invited to hold lectures, consultations, participate in geographical expeditions and other projects to improve the level of geographical knowledge in the USSR.

In 1940, the School Committee was transformed into the School-methodological section under the Commission of promotion of geographical knowledge, which was engaged in development of teaching issues. The section organized lectures such as "Geographical Society’s travel to Central Asia", "How to read a map", «Geographic map of the USSR on a scale of 1: 1 000 000", and many others.

In 1951, the School-methodological section was transformed into Department of educational geography, which at that time was engaged in involvement of teachers in members of the Society, discussion of draft curricula and programs, examination of textbooks, journals, anthologies, collections, the issue of the restoration of the Geographic Museum, organizing long-distant excursions for geography teachers and provision of guidance to teachers.

Since 1947, special sections and committees of school geography in regional divisions and branches have been organizing. With the participation of branches and departments textbooks of geography of separate areas for 7-8 grades, and educational maps of many of the Union republics and regions of the RSFSR have been compiled and published . Regional sections were engaged in carrying out school conferences, creation of special lectures for students, as well as organization of excursions. The active work of Department of educational geography and school committees under the regional brances of the Society continued until 1990-ies of XX century.