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SPH Geography Challenge 2004 gets bigger and better

SINGAPORE, 20 FEBRUARY 2004 – Students taking part in this year’s SPH Geography Challenge 2004 are in for more fun and excitement.

Participants can look forward to a brand new GeoMap component and an Amazing Race-styled GeoTrail competition, with $10,000 worth of prizes.

This annual competition for secondary school students, now into its eighth year, will see the teams battle it out through three intense rounds. The Preliminary Quiz, to be held in the National University of Singapore´s Lecture Theatres 8, 11 and 12 from 10am to 12pm on Saturday, 21 February 2004, will kick off the Challenge.

The SPH Geography Challenge 2004 is organised by the Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS), and the NUS Geographical Society. Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) has been the sponsor since its inception in 1997, and the National Geographic Channel has been the co-sponsor since 1999. It is also supported by the Ministry of Education and the Geography Teachers´ Association of Singapore.

The Preliminary Quiz
For the Quiz, 86 teams or over 340 students must answer multiple choice as well as open-ended questions concerning both geographical concepts and current affairs. For the first time, the questions will have an emphasis on geographical phenomenon in everyday life, current issues and trends reported in the daily newspapers.

From the initial 86 teams, only 20 will get into the finals, which comprises two rounds – the GeoTrail and GeoMap competitions.

Said Mr Han Songguang, student head for the SPH Geography Challenge 2004: “Greater emphasis is placed this year on practical and thinking skills, rather than the mere regurgitation of facts. Thus, it promises to be a more challenging competition than previous years.”

Ms Irene Ngoo, Assistant Vice President of SPH Corporate Relations, added: ”Geography closely relates to general knowledge as it covers global issues and world patterns such as, exploding populations, dwindling resources and coping with life on a rapidly shrinking planet. Most of the problems facing our young generation today have strong geographic overtones, which they can find out in newspapers.

"SPH is pleased that some of the questions in this year’s Geography Challenge are culled from newspapers, as they add a new dimension to this popular competition series. SPH strongly believes that newspapers help students make connections with the real world and the communities in which they live."

The GeoTrail
The GeoTrail, to be held on Friday, March 19, is the highlight of the SPH Geography Challenge series. A full-day event, it tests the students´ abilities to apply concepts learnt in the classroom as well as to utilize their social skills.

During the GeoTrail, the 20 teams will be required to find 16 checkpoints across Singapore, and given only a list of six-digit map grid references, clues and a map of Singapore. They will have to answer geographical and current affairs questions, as well as perform tasks at each checkpoint. These tasks will bring the teams in contact with the public as they seek help for clues to solve the questions.

Said Associate Professor Henry Yeung, chairperson of the SPH Geography Challenge 2004 committee: “This year´s Challenge will be really fun and impactful. We are sure many Singaporeans and visitors will have a first-hand encounter with our geographically minded students. So watch out for them on 19 March!”

The GeoMap
The other component of the finals, the GeoMap competition will require all 20 teams to submit a tourist brochure on Singapore on Saturday, March 27. The brochure could be about Singapore as a whole, a particular area or attraction in Singapore (eg. Chinatown or Sentosa), or a theme (eg. Nightlife in Singapore). The brochures will be judged based on attractiveness, creativity, quality of content, practicality and potential for printing.

In addition, the GeoMap competition has a new Open Category whereby secondary schools can submit one GeoMap entry. Finalists schools are also allowed to submit one entry in this Open Category in addition to the GeoMap entry submitted by their teams in the Geography Challenge.

Each team´s final score will be tallied up based on the following breakdown:
- Preliminary Quiz: 20%,
- GeoTrai: 60%
- GeoMap 20%

The team with the highest total score from the three rounds will be crowned the winner of the SPH Geography Challenge 2004.

The champion school will receive $1,500 in book vouchers and a challenge trophy. The runner-up will receive $1,200 in book vouchers, while the third placed school will receive $800 in book vouchers. Furthermore, each team member from the top three teams will receive a year´s subscription of the National Geographic Magazine, in addition to other attractive prizes.

There will also be prizes for the highest scoring team for each of the three rounds of competition, and the highest scoring individual student in the Preliminary Quiz.

Prizes worth $10,000, including book vouchers and cash, will be given away.

This year´s Challenge will also be part of a series of events to commemorate the NUS Department of Geography´s 75th Anniversary.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited

For more information, please contact:

Ms Juliana Chong
Assistant Manager
Corporate Relations
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
1000 Toa Payoh North
Singapore 318994
Tel: 65-6319 1895
Fax: 65-6319 8150

Associate Professor Henry Yeung
SPH Geography Challenge 2004 Committee
Tel: 65-6874 6910
Fax: 65-6777 3091

Mr Han Songguang
Student Head
SPH Geography Challenge 2004 Committee
Tel: 9847 3583

About SPH
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications while the online editions of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.