The Need To Make History A Compulsory Subject In Our Primary And Secondary Schools BY ODEY OJEKA

In Breaking News, Columnists, Education, Opinion, Uncategorized

By CrossRiverWatch Admin

Studying a subject that you feel is pointless is never a fun or easy task.

It can be hard enough studying a subject that you enjoy if the material is complicated, but when you are not even interested in the topics or concepts involved, how can you expect to really absorb the information in a meaningful way?

If you are studying History whether you like it or not, asking yourself the question why is History important is actually a very good first step.

It is important to understand the purpose of the subjects we study, in both broad and personal terms, especially with something as heavy as History.

How you choose to use history is another story, and all depends on what you find most important about it. Which brings us back to the original question, why is History important? Let’s find out below.

I know that many Nigerian students in high schools, colleges, universities etcetera would complain about History Class, but they clearly did not understand all of the important reasons to study History.

How can we understand our society without understanding what created it?.

The events and persons that shaped who we are today are incredibly important.

History lets us live in an era where we are not present. It helps us relate to people whose actions influenced the shape of the present day.

History is very important because it takes us back into the times of kings, emperors, princes, princesses, warriors, wars, inventions, geniuses and discoveries.

History helps us to learn the types of cultures and traditions people followed as well as their way of living.All cultures that we know today have their roots in the cultures of the past.

The study of History should be strongly encouraged by government.

Infact, democracy cannot thrive effectively without good knowledge of History in both leaders and the led.

As an undegraduate in the Cross River State College of Education, some of my friends and i decided to study History instead of other courses.

History was one of the courses that fascinated me the most. I was very interested in knowing about the past. It is only when people in a country know where they are coming from that they can tell where they are likely going to.

After my three years in college, I discovered that a people who do not know their history are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past.

According to Michael Crichton: “If you don’t know history, then you don’t anything.You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree”.

Without the knowledge of the past we would be without identity, we would be lost on an endless sea of time.

History was expunged first from the primary and the junior secondary school level. The new curriculum saw the introduction of Social Studies and gradual elimination of the history at the primary schools.

It eventually led to what Adeyinka describes as the cramming into the second tier secondary schools of a history curriculum that ought to take six years to teach.

Eventually the senior secondary schools were affected.

Since then, despite spirited efforts of respected Historians like professor J. F. Adejayi and Dr. Yusuf Bola Usman, we have allowed our children grow without a sense of their own history.

The questions keep coming back at us, how does a country proceed without a knowledge of its heroes and heroines

The failure to teach this important subject in our classrooms has led to the failure to apply historical understanding to national policy.

Life without history is incomplete since sizeable parts of knowledge, information, artefacts, records, totems among others could be lost.

Official reasons Nigeria advances for expunging history as a course of study are that students are shunning it, as they were few jobs for history graduates, and there is dearth of history teachers.

These are their excuses but it is not true because there are more than five hundred thousand (500,000)History graduates in Nigeria but the government don’t want to employ us.

When we obliterate history, we should also destroy our artefacts, burn our monuments, heritage sites and archaeological activities.

A generation of Nigeria without knowledge of history would not appreciate these treasures.

How does a country proceed without a knowledge of it heroes and heroines?

If we do not want to go the way of the Bourbons, we must restore the study of history in our education curriculum and make it compulsory to rescue generations of our society who cultural dilution is making rootless.

According to Professor Bawuro Bakindo: “The implication of students not studying History is that Nigeria would become a nation without history.”

We are breeding people who do not know their own history, and history is something that covers everything; there is no subject without history.

Our failure to make the study of history compulsory in Nigeria schools is an act of self destruction.The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. We should understand that the past caused the present, and so the future.

Our great nationalist, Herbert Macaulay and his contemporaries could see from their graves what Nigeria educationist and curriculum designers have done to their historical achievements in Nigeria, they would weep.

Our educationist have bastardized their historical worth. Nigerian students and some graduates are now having a poor sense of history of the men who literarily ‘sacrificed’ their lives for Nigeria’s independence.

History is no longer taught in schools as it has been systematically removed from or suppressed in the nations curricula. As a result,students are ignorant of who their progenitors are.

The sad reality is that majority of our students do not have any sense of history because their larger society doesn’t have a sense of history either.

Apart from Social Studies and Government presently being taught, History should be re-introduced as a separate subject.

Nigerian students see History as an alternative subject to Government, so, this have made them to automatically chose Government when writing their WAEC because they considered Government as more relevant than History.

Our lawmakers need to proposed a bill that will make History a compulsory subject in Nigeria schools.

I will like to use this medium to plead the federal government as a matter of urgency, to make History a compulsory subject in primary and secondary schools. It should be part of general studies in our tertiary institutions.

Odey Ojeka is a Journalist, graduate of History and CrossRiverWatch correspondent, writes from Ugep.

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