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FG reintroduces History to basic curriculum

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By Mercy Kelani

Stakeholders claim that reasons for removal of History were ingenuine.

History, as a subject, has been removed from the Basic Education Curriculum in Nigeria since the past thirteen years under the regime of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and the then Minister of Education, Aisha Jubril Dukku, for reasons that are not considered genuine enough. Some of these reasons include lesser availability of jobs for History graduates and dearth of teachers to teach the subject. Also, it was said that history was expunged from the curriculum to conceal some parts of the nation’s history from young Nigerians.

Stakeholders reacted to the removal of this subject as they are unable to fathom likely reasons for the removal of the subject. History is regarded as the main consideration in the establishment of foreign policy objectives in any country, therefore, Nigeria denied its citizen of their rights to sound education causing a relegation and eroding of the knowledge and information that learners ought to be aware of. The current Minister of Education, Adamu, admitted that the expungement of history from the curriculum was a monumental mistake that has serious consequences for the country.

Country with no sense of history is a soulless nation – Prof. Alao.

Some of the consequences of this removal include a fall in moral values, disconnection from the past, Erosion of civic values and eroded knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country. The Minister further stated that lack of knowledge about the evolution of Nigeria has led to the threatening of national cohesion with the country’s retreat to primordial sentiments. Stakeholders likewise hold their grounds that History should have been made compulsory in schools just like mathematics.

A Professor of Legal History at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, Akin Alao, asserted that a country that has no sense of history is a nation with no soul. Alao further stated that majority of the challenges facing the country and efforts put into nation-building in the country are consequences of neglecting history. His statement is backed up by the words of a Roman statesman, philosopher and academic skeptic, Marcus Cicero, which says “not to know what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child.”

History possesses values that can develop people’s minds.

In addition, the essentiality of history is not only in its certification but also in its role in intellectual rebirth and cultural revival that can enable the Educational System of a country to enhance the minds of young Nigerians. A senior lecturer at the Department of History and International Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Sam Okeke, affirmed that history also requires proper documentation for all Nigerians, whether ugly or not. He noted that values that are capable of developing people’s minds are embedded in history as there is no discipline without its own history.

The Head of Department, History and International Studies, Legacy University, Okija, Anambra State, Ezeme Vincent, commented on the reintroduction of History as a stand-alone subject that would not only be taught in class but would also be written in internal and external examinations in the country after its thirteen years of removal, saying it is a welcome development. The lecturer added that Nigeria should hold her history in high esteem like every other great nation of the world.

3,700 history teachers have been selected for training.

To strengthen the reintroduction of History, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, stated that there has been a selection of 3,700 history teachers from the 36 states of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for training – 100 teachers from each state and the FCT. To further complement measures taken to solidify the return of History, state governments are expected to collaborate with Private Sector initiatives to set up mini-museums of history in different local governments headquarters to enable education tours.


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