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Feb 7, 2006

Australian Effort Earns A Failing Grade In Geography

Some Australian educators came up with what sounded like a great idea. As a way of teaching kids geography, a map of all the countries participating in the Commonwealth Games was sent to all Victorian primary schools. In total, 30,000 maps were produced by the Office of Commonwealth Games, in a joint effort with the Education Department.

There's one problem. Any Australian kid that attempted to learn geography from those maps would be terribly misinformed about the world today. According to The Age, the maps are seriously out of date. The maps fail to show a number of European nations that were born during the 1990s. Former Soviet states Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova and Ukraine. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are missing. The countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Slovenia are still lumped together as Yugoslavia. According to the map, the Czech Republic and Slovakia remain joined as the nation of Czechoslovakia.

A spokesman for the Commonwealth Games expressed regret. However, there are no plans to issue new maps. Australian Croatian Association president Tony Juric said it was disrespectful to leave Croatia off the map. He also gave a good reason for Australians to learn geography saying about Croatia, "We're playing them in the (soccer) World Cup; if we don't know where Croatia is, we're in trouble."