The decision of the Federal Government directing all primary and secondary schools across the country to immediately implement the teaching of History as a standalone subject from the next academic calendar is very welcome.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, who disclosed the directive in Abuja recently, said the Federal Government will also ensure that all primary school teachers are trained to deliver digital literacy.
According to Echono, the directive had already been given and it is automatic that all the schools should implement simultaneously.
We commend the Federal Government for listening to the concerns expressed by many Nigerians and its wise decision to bring History back to schools.
No doubt, the teaching of History in our schools will go a long way in fostering nation building, national identity, patriotism and overall human development in the country.
The importance of History cannot be over-emphasised. History, it should be noted, provides the students with the knowledge of the past, and its influences on the present and the future.
Now that the error of removing History from the schools’ curriculum has been corrected, the emphasis should be on the teaching of Nigerian history, including our origin, cultures, our commonalities as well as differences.
Our students should be taught about the Nok culture, the Igbo Ukwu, Benin and Ife arts among others.
These cultural landmarks are associated with the history and archeology of our land. They should also be taught about the history of the various people that make up Nigeria before, during and after colonialism.
There is the need to teach them about slavery, colonialism, the nationalist struggles and attainment of independence. They should be taught the history of the Nigerian Civil War and other wars fought among the various ethnic nationalities that make up the country.
There is a significant body of international academic research that shows that the role of history education, in developing a sound knowledge of the history of one’s own country and of the wider world, can contribute to progressive democratic citizenship.
In a world where we are often bombarded with a wide range of electronic information of varying degrees of intellectual rigour and quality, and in a world where there are real concerns about the phenomenon of “fake news”, it is important that our young people have the ability to evaluate source material and to develop analytical skills, which the study of history teaches us.
The progressive teaching of history can foster a sense of inclusion, a respect for diversity and also strengthen awareness of civic responsibilities in the emerging generation, now in our schools and colleges, who will help shape the future of our nation.
Also, we cannot be truly united when Nigerian history is not taught in our schools.
In fact, some of the crises of nationhood plaguing Nigeria today can be traced to lack of knowledge of Nigerian history. It is very sad that most Nigerians today think more about their ethnic nationalities and less of the country.
We call on the curriculum designers to make the teaching of History appealing and attractive to the students through the use of modern teaching aids.
For us to build a strong and virile nation, the emphasis should be on inculcating in our students the virtues of nationalism, unity and patriotism. They should love and think of Nigeria first before any other consideration. History can be used as a veritable tool to achieve these lofty goals.