International Geography Olympiad
The Statutes of the International Geography Olympiad (IGEO) were approved by an email vote of the International Board constituted for the International Geography Olympiad in Carthage, Tunisia, in August 2008. The vote was concluded on 30 June 2009.
- The Olympiad is held under the auspices of the International Geographical Union (IGU) and organised by the IGU Olympiad Task Force.
- The aims of the Olympiad are to:
- stimulate active interest in geographical and environmental studies among young people;
- contribute positively to debate about the importance of geography as a senior secondary school subject by drawing attention to the quality of geographical knowledge, skills and interests among young people;
- facilitate social contacts between young people from different countries and in doing so, contribute to the understanding between nations.
- The Olympiad consists of a competition, social activities and excursions. The Olympiad competition is in three parts: a written test, a multimedia test and a substantial fieldwork exercise.
- The Olympiad is a competition between individual students who are between 16 and 19 years old and selected through a national geography competition.
- The official language of the Olympiad is English.
- Each participating country, as defined by IGU Statute II A, sends a team of four students.
- They must be students of secondary schools (general or technical), or ex-students who finished school in the year of the Olympiad and have not yet commenced regular education at university level.
- Their ages must be between 16 and 19 years old (inclusive) on 30 June of the year that the Olympiad takes place.
- Students must be able to answer test questions in the official language of the Olympiad (English). Non-native English speakers get extra facilities such as the use of a language dictionary, translations of selected geographic terms from the tests, and extra time for long written tests.
- Students must be selected through a national geography competition. Students selected through this national competition must be enrolled in the school system of the country they represent. They do not necessarily have to be citizens of that country.
- Students must answer the test questions independently. Violation of this provision shall result in disqualification of the student from the Olympiad.
- In addition to the students, two adult team leaders are invited.
- They must be involved in geography teaching or geography in education in their country.
- Each of them must be able to speak and write the official language of the Olympiad (English).
- One leader has membership of the International Board. S/he shall maintain absolute security about the contents of any test until after that particular test has taken place. S/he is eligible to participate on one of the jury panels, vote on the Statutes, review marking guidelines, translate geographic terms, etc.
- The other leader is the person responsible for the students. S/he may also assist in supervision of the tests and other activities related to the Olympiad.
- Both of them have equal rights at the event evaluation meeting of team leaders, which takes place at the end of the Olympiad.
- The organisers of the next Olympiad may send an observer. Observers may be present at meetings of the International Board, but may not vote.
The Olympiad tests
- The tests of the Olympiad are as follows:
- The marks assigned for the Olympiad are: written test (40% of total marks), multimedia test (20%) and fieldwork exercise (40%). The three test elements are organised on different days, which may be any day of the week. Past examples of questions are included on the Olympiad website.
- Students complete most test assignments individually not as teams. However, up to 50% of the fieldwork test, that is up to 20% of the Olympiad’s total mark, may be completed as a national team, with each team member being awarded the same mark. Note: preliminary exercises in the field may be carried out in cross-national groups, if all the fieldwork test questions are completed individually.
- The tests are based on the guidelines drawn up by the Olympiad Task Force. Olympiad assignments test both knowledge and skills in geography.
- The Olympiad assignments are prepared by committees under the supervision of the Olympiad Task Force.
- Students must produce their answers in the official language of the Olympiad (English).
- Students who do not commence a test for whatever reason will be awarded no marks for that test. Students who commence but do not complete a test due to circumstances beyond their control, will have their mark for that test determined by the Olympiad Task Force, after consultation with that test’s marking jury and the International Board.
- All students receive a certificate. Approximately 50% of the participating students receive a medal. Medals are awarded in the approximate ratio of gold 1: silver 2: bronze 3.
- The Olympiad tests are based on the International Charter on Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union.
- The results are announced and the awards and diplomas presented to the winners at an official ceremony during the Olympiad.
The Task Force and the International Board
- The long-term work involved in organising the Olympiad is coordinated by the Task Force. Members of the Task Force are the chair and the organisers of the past, the present and the future Olympiads. The Task Force may co-opt up to three additional International Board members to serve on the Task Force. The chair of the Task Force is elected by the International Board after consultation with the chair of the Commission on Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union. The chair of the Task Force is elected every 4 years. The incumbent chair may stand for re-election. Note that two people may assume the role of chair as co-chairs, with their rights and responsibilities defined as if they were a single chair. The Task Force:
- takes the lead in organising an efficient and high-quality Olympiad;
- promotes the Olympiad worldwide;
- stimulates national geography competitions;
- defines the areas, themes and geographical skills to be included in the Olympiad;
- maintains an up-to-date Olympiad website;
- works in consultation with the International Geographical Union and its Commission on Geographical Education;
- seeks funds to organise the International Geography Olympiad.
- The International Board consists of one adult representative of each country participating in the present or last Olympiad. The chair of the Task Force chairs the meetings of the International Board. Decisions of the International Board are passed by a majority vote. The chair has a casting vote. Members of the Task Force have the right to attend meetings of the International Board but, apart from the chair’s casting vote, only have a vote if they are a country’s representative. The decisions of the International Board are final. The International Board has the following responsibilities:
- help the Task Force and local organiser to conduct the Olympiad according to the Statutes;
- ascertain that all the competitors meet the requirements of the Olympiad in all respects. The Board shall disqualify those competitors who do not meet the requirements. The costs incurred by a disqualified competitor shall be covered by his/her country;
- discuss the Olympiad's assignments and tasks and make a final decision on these before the Olympiad tests start;
- maintain and preserve confidentiality concerning the assignments and tasks and offer no assistance to any participant;
- mark the students' test assignments, this task to be carried out by subsets of the International Board acting as juries;
- ensure correct and just classification of the prize winners;
- summarise the results of the Olympiad;
- select the country to organise the next Olympiad.
- The Olympiad is organised by the Ministry of Education or one or more other appropriate institutions of the country in whose territory the Olympiad is to be conducted. The Education Ministry of the organising country, as a rule, assigns the organisation, preparation and execution of the Olympiad to a geographical society or another institution in the organising country. The obligations of the local organiser are to:
- ensure the equal participation of all delegations;
- invite the participants of the last three Olympiads and other countries as appropriate. Applications from countries which participated in either of the two preceding Olympiads and which are received at least six months before the Olympiad in question starts, shall be accepted in the order in which they are received up to the number the local organiser specifies it can host. Six months before the Olympiad any places still available shall be allocated to other countries in the order in which their applications were received;
- forward to these countries not less than eight months before the date of the Olympiad information which gives details of the Olympiad not covered in the Statutes, and gives the names and addresses of the institutions and the persons responsible for the Olympiad;
- forward the areas, themes and geographical skills to be included in the Olympiad, as supplied by the Task Force, to the participating countries;
- establish a detailed programme for the Olympiad including a schedule for competitors and adult representatives, a programme of excursions, etcetera. This is to be sent to the participating countries not less than three months in advance;
- check immediately after the arrival of each delegation whether its competitors meet the conditions of the Olympiad;
- conduct the Olympiad in accordance with the Statutes;
- be responsible for the financial aspects of the Olympiad and announce one year before the date of the Olympiad the fee to be paid by each student and adult.
The financial principles
- The country which sends the students to the Olympiad pays:
- the return travel costs of the students and of all accompanying persons to the place at which the Olympiad is held;
- a fee to the local organiser for each student and adult as a contribution to other costs. This fee is to be announced one year before the Olympiad starts.
- The local organiser covers all other expenses incurred in holding the Olympiad.
Changes to these Statutes can only be made by the International Board and require a qualified majority (2/3 of the votes). No changes may be made to these Statutes unless each delegation participating in the present or last Olympiad is sent the proposed revision by email at least two months in advance. The International Board may conduct such votes in person or by post, fax or email.
- Participation in an International Geography Olympiad signifies acceptance of the present Statutes by the Ministry of Education or other institution responsible for sending the delegation.
- The original and definitive version of these Statutes is written in English.
(c) IGU Olympiad Task Force 2008-2012
Joop van der Schee, Henk Ankoné‚ & Kath Berg.