The Federal Government has announced the reintroduction of History into basic education curriculum in Nigeria, thirteen years after its abolition.
The flag-off ceremony was held on Thursday, November 24, 2022 in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the reintroduction of teaching of History and training of History teachers at basic education level, lamented that the national cohesion was being threatened with the country retreating into primodal sentiments because of lack of knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria following the removal of the subject from the curriculum.
Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah stated that, History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in Nigeria’s classrooms but for some inexplicable reasons, the steam of teaching and learning was abolished.
He explained that, as a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combination 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, Adamu noted, relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. The negative impact, he said were glaring:
“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 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 retreating 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 would be a focus of this re-introduction.
He informed that teachers would 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 his part, the Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, said a total of 3,700 History teachers had 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, 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, and 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, was 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 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.
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.