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Relevance of History as a School Subject

Relevance of History as a School Subject

History is better taught to young impressionable minds at an early age to implant the spirit of patriotism, national identity and nation-building in them.

In recent years, the study of history has witnessed a big decline majorly because it was removed from the Nigerian school curriculum by the federal government in the 2009/2010 academic session with some reasons bordering on the dearth of history teachers and lack of jobs for history graduates. It was reintroduced in 2018/2019 after much condemnation and criticism.

It is pertinent to know that history is not a mere jumble of boring dates, war stories, names, events and places. Rather, it is the study of past events that exposes one to the forces that shaped the present society we found ourselves in and indirectly equips one with better ideas on how to face recent challenges.  

Many argue that history is a subject that is rarely used in people’s lives and so the energy should be shifted to science and technology which are more relevant to the future and society but as human beings who have gone through lots of changes before getting to our present stage, we cannot entirely feign ignorance of knowing about our culture, origin, story and identity for a better approach to life. 

Without proper knowledge of Nigerian history, we wouldn’t be celebrating most of our great events like democracy day, independence day and the rest but it is always good when we reference the great deeds of important people in the past as it can also be a form of inspiration to young ones.

Here are some important reasons why students should be taught history

1: In learning history, students understand themselves, their culture, root, and origin. Also, they realise where they fit-in in the country or the world at large.

2: History helps one to understand change; when, and why change occurs (or should be sought) 

3: A good understanding of History encourages students to think analytically and critically.

4: It inspires one to be good decision-makers and also good citizens of the country.

5: History teaches one to think critically and comprehend the world around them. 

6: It gives one insight into our present-day problems by identifying the driving forces of society, government and individuals.

7: History develops reading and writing skills in students.

8: Study of history helps students to learn from the past so as to avoid repeating the same mistake.

9: History tells great stories of interesting adventures thereby taking one around the world while at a spot.

10: History brings truth to life and eliminates certain discrepancies and controversies.

A renowned professor of Legal History at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Dr Akin Alao once said that a country without a sense of history is a soulless country.

Therefore, genuine teaching of history in Nigerian schools should be encouraged to build informed citizens and preserve the cultural and intellectual repositories of this country for posterity.

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