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History is needed in basic edu. curriculum

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By Mercy Kelani

It is currently being taught under social studies and not as a lone subject.

A philosophical belief asserts that it is impossible for a country to develop beyond the literacy and education of its people. However, in Nigeria, regardless of the fact that history as a subject fostered cross-cultural awareness of citizens, it was exempted from basic schools’ timetables in the 1970s and taught as a sub-subject under social studies. This act by the government welcomed dissatisfied reactions from stakeholders, parents, and teachers, thereby generating a loud outcry. It was considered intellectual rape.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the history subject in Federal basic schools were infused into the framework of generic social studies — a 1960s and 1970s-originated trend. During this period, the social studies approach as a medium of teaching humanities began to gain solid grounds in the curriculum of primary schools and lower secondary schools in diverse jurisdictions. According to Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian Nobel Prize Winner, history was deliberately removed from the school’s curriculum as a means of discouraging the people’s knowledge of the country’s past.

Children should be familiar with their ancestry and history.

Taking same sides with the Nobel Prize laureate, Dike Chukwumerije, a poet, speaking at TedX Maitama, stated that a national identity represents one’s story, judging by how one chooses to tell the story and the emphasis and de-emphasis placed on the story. He added that as Nigerians, stories of integration should be invested upon. Elizabeth Ohaka, an early childhood educationist, also said that basic level teaching of history is significantly to grooming a complete child. To her, it is important that children are familiar with their ancestry and what they did while learning from their mistakes.

Complementing the dissatisfaction that accompanied the removal of history in schools, Francis Awa, a historian, views this removal as a disaster that depicts bankruptcy of leadership ideas. To ease the outcry, sometime ago the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, affirmed the importance of history in the achievement of social and behavioral change, and its re-introduction into the country’s basic education curriculum. Recently, its re-introduction as a subject into the basic curricular has been of maximum concern to stakeholders.

The subject used to be taught as a stand-alone.

Teaching this subject in basic schools help with understanding change and the historical existence of the society we live in. With history, students are able to understand the world and how to navigate the future. Decades back, history was taught as a subject on its own and was enjoyed and valued by pupils. Although some pupils were unable to study it because of its connection with the past and memorization of past names and dates. The minister further stated that ministerial strategic plan of 2016-2019 is loaded with activities and initiatives for execution.

The initiatives includes re-introduction of history as a subject in primary and junior secondary schools (JSS). It has the approval of the National Council on Education. The Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) has also been saddled with the responsibility of disarticulating history from social studies curriculum. It is necessary that every Nigerian political zone or state knew Nigeria’s history, the efforts of past leaders to build the county to its current state, and criteria current aspirants met before vying for offices.

Re-introduction of the subject is good for the country.

While events that occurred before writing was invented are regarded as pre-history, history comprises of past events, memory, collection, presentation, discovery, organization and interpretation of these events. It was said that the kind of information people were given while growing up contributes to Nigeria’s disjointed socio-political and ethnic oriented party system. The schisms present in almost every zone of the country is also owed to lack and perversion of history to cause enmity between citizens. Therefore, it is important that the wrong is righted.

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