What is IESO?
The International Earth Science Olympiad – IESO, was established as one of the major activities of the International Geoscience Education Organization– IGEO.
IGEO is affiliated to and sponsored by International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). The aims of IGEO are to promote Geoscience education at all international levels, to encourage and develop the public awareness of Geoscience, especially among young people and to work on the improvement of the quality of Geoscience education all over the world.
The IESO is an annual competition for secondary school students (students not older than 18 years old on July the 1st of the year of the Olympiad). The students have to test their skills in all major areas of Earth sciences, including geology, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, terrestrial astronomy and environmental sciences. The theoretical examination includes problems which are supposed to measure the participants’ knowledge and understanding of Earth science areas. The practical examination consists of tasks which are designed to assess participants’ abilities to carry out scientific investigations in earth science inquiries. The examinations are prepared by specialists in Earth sciences and Earth science education, who also provide solutions and evaluation guidelines. Each delegation is composed of 4 students and 2 supervisors. The latter must be specialists in Earth science and Earth science education and capable of serving as members of the International Jury. The official language of IESO is English; however, the supervisors may translate the written examinations and related materials into to the participants’ native language.
The main aim of the IESO is to encourage students’ interest and public awareness of Earth Science and to enhance Earth science learning. With the IESO the organizers hope to pick out talented and gifted Earth science students and to promote the improvement of teaching Earth sciences at schools. Last but not least, the IESO is developed in pursuit of encouraging friendly relationships among young learners from different countries and promoting international cooperation in exchanging ideas and materials on Earth sciences and Earth sciences education.
The IESO is the only International Olympiad that includes an International Team Field Investigation (ITFI). ITFI turns out to be a special IESO tool to encourage friendly relationships among young learners from different countries and to promote international cooperation.
The history of the IESO
The idea of the International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) was suggested by several Korean earth scientists before 2003. In 2003, Korean Earth Science Society (KESS) organized the first Korean Earth Science Olympiad (KESO). The second (2004) and the third (2005) KESO were organized successfully.
The IESO was established as one of the major activities of the International Geoscience Education Organization (IGEO), during the International Council Meeting held in Calgary, Canada. The Meeting was part of the Fourth International Conference on Geoscience Education (GeoSciEd IV) in April 2003.
During IGC32 held in Florence, Italy in August 2004, Eduardo de Mulder and Ted Nield of the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) management team agreed to support IESO as one of the activities of the IYPE.
Seoul IESO Conference was held in November 2004 in Seoul. Representatives from 10 countries participated and discussed the earth science curricula and a desirable format of the IESO. There were made 23 presentations and the IESO Coordinating Committee was established. It was composed of 11 members including the Chairperson, Moo Young Song. The IESO Committee was renamed the IESO Advisory Committee later on. The Statutes for the IESO were also finalized.
During the first meeting of the IESO Coordinating Committee, held during the Seoul Conference, it was concluded that Korea offered the best conditions and the most favourable atmosphere for hosting the first IESO. The efforts of the Committee combined with a great personal contribution of Prof. Moo Young Song resulted in the first International Earth Science Olympiad that took place in Korea in 2007.
In 2005 there was established the IESO Syllabus Commission (Chairperson: Nir Orion) and the first draft of the IESO Syllabus was elaborated. The IESO logo was designed and approved by the IESO Advisory Committee in March 2006