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HISTORY EDUCATION AWARENESS LEVEL AMONG JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN AVANPAN LGA OF PLATEAU STATE
A review of history teaching in Nigeria has left us with the manifestation that the subject is fast going into extinction and in itself becoming a subject of the past, as it is often referred to, as the subject where the past is studied. At one time in the country, history as a school subject was completely expunged from the syllabus as if there was no need for people to understand or know their history and that of the society in which they live. Sequel to this removal, some experts and professionals rose to the challenges by salvaging history teaching and learning from being relegated to the background and leading to the reintroduction of the subject in the curriculum of secondary schools in Nigeria, but still offered as optional subject, particularly at the senior secondary and not at all in primary and junior secondary as it used to be.
The feat of bringing History back into the school syllabus was achieved under the auspices of the Historical Society of Nigeria who took the bull by the horns and did everything, including consultation with relevant Government agencies that matter. The body met the Minister of Education and Alhaji Shehu Shagari, then President of Nigeria with the submission of memoranda drawing attention to the dangers and consequences of the Nigerian citizens, not knowing their history. As Ikime (2006) recounts, nothing came out of this initial effort. However in 2002, President Obasanjo announced the return of History to our school syllabus.
On the significance of history, Daniels in Ikime (2006) had submitted that:
History is the memory of human group experience. If forgotten or ignored, we cease in that measure to be human. Without history, we have no knowledge of who we are or how we came to be, like victims of collective amnesia groping in the dark for our identity. It is the events recorded in history that have generated all the emotions, the values, the ideals, that make life meaningful, that have given men something to live for, struggle over, die for.
Furthermore, he argued that “historical events have created all the basic human groupings – countries, religions classes and all the loyalties that attached to these”.
In a specific term, history of education as an academic discipline is also doing more than expected to ensure the sustainability and continued relevance of history in education. This was also an achievement recorded by a handful of practitioners who gathered at the International Standing Conference of the History of Education (ISCHE) in Switzerland in the year 2000. The idea of forming a national association for the history of education was conceived and subsequently translated into action with the birth of History of Education Society of Nigeria, with the secretariat at the University of Ibadan-Nigeria, as well as representing the African sub-region as a body on History of Education in the global circle.
The present age of computer-scientific and technological orientation seems to be contributory to declining history teaching and learning in our schools. The attention and emphasis of the Government itself, is today not on arts or humanities, but on science and technology; clearly manifesting in the policy of 30 – 70% priority attention for science and technology, not excluding the admission requirement into the Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. The policy of 30% for arts/humanities and 70% for science and technology is now the educational lifestyle of Nigeria. On the part of the students, knowledge of computer and its usage for contemporary essentials have made them to be less keen and interested in examining the past, even reduced the reading culture of the Nigerian students. Basically, everyone’s attention is now directed at being computer literate and is presently a phenomenon that has overtaken the educational life of Nigeria and Nigerians. Student, even government recognizes the relevance of history as a school subject, but no attention is accorded its promotion as an important school subject. However, this has been observed and identified by practitioners, resulting in series of conferences, workshops and seminars organized to proffering solution and arresting the ugly trend.
Fundamentally, all efforts at ensuring that history teaching and learning continue to enjoy relevance have become the concern of everybody, especially the practitioners and educationists. All these efforts seem not yielding the desired result. Significantly, a well groomed teacher is the one believed to revolutionize and help the learners by rebuilding hope and confidence in the study of history; hence the need to make a serious exposition on the relevance of history and history of education as well as their relationship in teacher preparation.
Education has always been characterized by one problem or the other, having direct or indirect consequences on the people or the society and waiting to be accordingly addressed. These and more require the professionals to rise to the occasion by contributing meaningfully to addressing the situation. The situation may be positively addressed through workshops, seminars, advocacy campaign, implementation of conference communiqué and formulating policy for back-up. Researches are also best conducted to solve the problems with the results of such researches being utilized by policy-makers for salvaging the situation.
For anyone to assume responsibility for handling these myriads of problems, specifically the teachers; there is need for adequate training to equip them with the skills necessary to confront these onerous challenges. There is therefore, the need for the knowledge of history and history of education and its relevance in teacher preparation. It is teachers that assume the role of experts and they are the ones who impart the knowledge into the younger generation. These younger ones would then be able to appreciate the need to know their history – their past (issues, events, problems and solutions) to be put in perspective, for the present to have direction and the future to flourish.
There may have been previous researches in this subject. This work gives further explanations and analysis in history education awareness level among junior secondary school students in avaanpan lga of plateau state
H0: There is no relationship between awareness level and history education development among secondary school students
H1: There is a relationship between awareness level and history education development among secondary school students
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