Malaysian Earth Science Olympiad (MyESO) is an annual, national school-level competition that introduces earth science knowledge to secondary school and pre-university students in Malaysia. This competition is held each year starting from 2017. MyESO is a platform to choose the best four students to represent Malaysia in the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO). Malaysia’s first national team was formed in March 2018 and has competed in IESO 2018. The team members are Vaishnavi Narayanan, Natania Low Pei Yuan, Chooi Je Qin and Ammar Ahmadi. Malaysian team managed to get 3 bronze medals in the individual test and 3 more medals in ITFI and ESP categories (1 bronze in ITFI, 1 silver and 1 bronze in ESP). Participants from this year’s MyESO will stand a chance to represent Malaysia in IESO 2019 which will be held in Republic of Korea.
IESO was founded as one of the major activities of the International GeoScience Education Organization (IGEO). It is an annual competition for secondary school students. IESO aims to encourage students’ interest and public awareness of earth science and to enhance earth sciences learning and teaching at school level. The IESO aims to further foster friendly relationships among young learners from different countries and to promote international cooperation in exchanging ideas and materials on earth sciences and earth sciences education. As of 2018, 39 countries had participated in IESO.
MyESO program in Malaysia involves four stages: (i) Preliminary Round, (ii) Final Round, (iii) National Training Camps and (iv) International Earth Science Olympiad. MyESO is endorsed by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, which enables all participants to collect co-curriculum marks.
- To improve the teaching and learning of earth science in school.
- To promote national cooperation in exchanging ideas and materials about earth science.
- To allow students to acquire basic knowledge about the physical systems of Earth in composition, structure and the active processes inside them.
- To acquire basic scientific research skills of making an observation and the ability to discern between an observation, a conclusion and an assumption.
- To develop the skills which are needed in order to develop an environmental insight: Cyclic thinking and System thinking.
- To use earth science as a tool to illustrate chemical, physical and biological principles.
What is earth science and why students should participate?
Earth science is known as physical geography among Malaysians. Physical geography has a diverse range of sciences combined to describe the human physical environment. Among them are;
- Atmospheric sciences (meteorology)
- Marine sciences (oceanography)
- Soil science (pedology),
- Science of the earth (geology and geophysics)
- Science of solar systems (astronomy)
- Science of plants (plant ecology and biography)
- Science of earth surface (geomorphology).
The environmental concept of earth science is frequently found under the earth systems approach. This approach refers to the planet earth as a whole where man is an integral part of earth’s natural systems, which are tightly combined and include all the earth science fields. This holistic approach which is based on the combination of in depth knowledge and comprehensive observations of all the components of the earth can lead to a solution for the environmental problems our planet has to face such as global warming, floods as well as water and air pollution.
Geography subject in Malaysia used to focus on social geography which includes the study of population, religion & cultural activities, population migration, transportation & communication etc. “New Geography” emerged as a result of changes in geography subject and in particular, physical geography. This is the beginning of a revolution in geography studies. This revolution can be seen in developing countries as geography subject were added or replaced with earth science as a specialized subject in schools. In 2000, earth science topics can be seen in the geography text book after KBSM was drafted. And in 2017, there are more earth science topics introduced in geography text books that are in line with the implementation of KSSM. In recent years, the universities also have begun offering courses that are related to earth science.