The Federal Government on Thursday formally announced the reintroduction of history as a stand-alone subject in the basic education curriculum in Nigeria 13 years after its abolition.
Also, a total of 3,700 history teachers have also been shortlisted for the first round of training for enhanced teaching of the subject.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the reintroduction of the teaching of history and training of history teachers at the basic education level, lamented that the national cohesion was being threatened with the country retreating into primordial sentiments because of a lack of knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria following the removal of History from the basic education curriculum.
Adamu was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, at the event attended by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, and other key stakeholders in the education sector.
History was removed from primary and secondary education curriculums from the 2009/2010 academic session.
But following general reactions then that for a country that was still evolving and grappling with issues of social cohesion, political stability and economic development, it could not afford to forget its past, the current Minister of Education ordered the reintroduction of the subject in 2019.
While speaking further at the flag-off, Adamu said: “History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classroom but for some inexplicable reasons, the steam of teaching and learning was abolished.
“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our students could offer in both external and internal examinations compared to the subjects that were made compulsory at basic and secondary levels in Nigeria.
“This single act no doubt relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and has already started seeing its negative consequences
“The loss created by the absence of this subject has led to a fall in moral values, erosion of civic values, and disconnect from the past. More worrisome was the neglect of the teaching of this subject at basic and post-basic levels of education which invariably eroded the knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country.
“The immediate implication of this was that we lost ideas even of our recent past, and we scarcely saw ourselves as one nation and gradually began retreated into our primordial sentiments,” he said.
The Minister added that the training and retraining of teachers in order to enhance their capacity development that would lead to the mastery of the subject will be a focus of this re-introduction.
He said teachers will be provided with the requisite skills needed to teach the subject, the technique, methodology which will eventually give the subject a didactic outlook that will arouse the interest of the children to listen with rapt attention and remove the initial barriers that may have inhibited learning.
On capacity building for teachers, who have been disconnected from history teaching for several years, the Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, said a total of 3,700 History teachers have been selected from the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for training.
He added that the selection was done on pro-rata basis, with 100 teachers each from a state and FCT, stressing that this would equip them with the necessary skills to teach the subject, especially with the modification of the subject content.
Bobboyi said following the directive by the Minister of Education for History to be restored as a subject in schools, the Commission and Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), went to work, saying he was glad that the task had been accomplished with the eventual flag-off of the teaching of History in schools on Thursday.
Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, in his goodwill message, said Nigeria, as a country, is still evolving and striving to achieve nationhood, adding that the rich history of the country’s diverse constituents could be explored and exploited to serve as an effective tool for nation building.
He appealed to traditional rulers as custodians of the nation’s rich culture, traditions and values, and indeed, all Nigerians to support the bold step taken by the government and given effect by the Universal Basic Education Commission to return the teaching of history as a subject at the basic education level.
“We owe it a duty to encourage research for the documentation of the history of our people and should be forthcoming in granting access to historical records in our custody,” he said.