The Royal Scottish Geographical Society convened a meeting in Perth on 31st October to discuss issues relating to the uptake of GIS in Scottish Schools. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Vanessa Lawrence, Secretary General of Ordnance Survey International. Central to the discussion were the following issues:
1. There was clear commitment to further promote the significant value of studying Geography in Scottish schools and universities at a time when the subject is under pressure.
2. There was awareness of the contribution that the Geographical Information (GI) industry can make to Scotland’s future economic prosperity. However, there was also recognition that there remains a significant skills gap amongst our young people at a time when there are many jobs available globally in the buoyant GI industry.
3. There was a concerted desire amongst delegates to reduce existing barriers, including cost, to geographical information use in schools and to work together to develop a long-term strategy to develop teachers’ confidence in delivering GI skills training in schools across Scotland to make our young people competitive in the job market.
Bruce Gittings attended as RSGS Vice Chair, but also wearing his hats as Director of GIS Programmes at the University of Edinburgh. RSGS was also represented by Erica Caldwell (Education Convenor), Chief Executive Mike Robinson and Education Officer, Rachel Hay. Other attendees included Lynne Roberston from Education Scotland, Peter Burnhill and Anne Robertson from EDINA, Elaine Owen and Darren Bailey from Ordnance Survey and Liz Crisp, President of the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers (SAGT).