From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government, yesterday, announced re-introduction of history as a stand alone subject in basic education system in Nigeria, 13 years after it was abolished.
No fewer than 3,700 teachers have also been shortlisted for the first round of training for enhanced teaching of the subject.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, disclosed this during a flag-off ceremony of the re-introduction of teaching of history and training of history teachers at basic education level, in Abuja.
Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, described the earlier moves that culminated in the removal of the subject in basic schools as monumental mistake which the country is already reaping its negative effects.
“History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in classrooms but for some inexplicable reasons, some things happened, and as a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combination in our schools.
“This single act, no doubt, relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and we have 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 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 would be a focus of the 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.”
Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Hamid Bobboyi, explained that the 3,700 history teachers selected from the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) would participate in the training.
He said the selection was done on pro-rata (proportional) basis with 100 teachers each from a state and FCT, stressing that the training would equip them with the necessary skills to teach the subject, especially with the modification of the subject content.
Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, in his goodwill message, said Nigeria is still evolving and striving to achieve nationhood, adding that the rich history of the country’s diverse constituents should 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 UBEC, to return the teaching of history as a subject at 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.