By: Ademola Orunbon
In 2007, the Federal Government launched a new curriculum known as the New Basic Education Curriculum for primary and junior secondary schools. The existing curriculum was aimed at correcting the abnormalities of the former one, which was believed to be lacking in the areas of human capacity development; eradication of poverty; and the country’s quest for total emancipation as an independent entity. Under the new system, the structure was divided into three levels of lower, middle and upper basic education curriculum. The lower level was for primary one to three, the middle level was for primary four to six, while the upper level was for Junior Secondary School, JSS one to three.
In each of the three levels, there were about 12 compulsory core subjects with one elective subject. English Studies, Mathematics, Social Studies, Health and Physical Education, Religious Studies as well as French were among the compulsory subjects. The new curriculum was effective from the 2009/2010 academic session. In its bid to correct the said abnormality in the past curriculum, History subject was relegated to the background. The subject no longer stood alone as an independent subject as it was before. The reasons given for the decision, then was that students were shunning the subject and that the decision was necessitated by the fact that there were few jobs for History graduates, and there was dearth of teachers of the subject.
The decision was met with criticism with many describing the reasons as mere excuses. Following the criticisms, in 2016, the former minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, ordered the reintroduction of the subject in basic schools across the country. The minister called for the disarticulation of Social Studies in the curriculum of basic schools and reintroduction of History as a subject. The minister who made the call while addressing delegates at the 61st Meeting of the National Council on Education Ministerial Session had stated that the reintroduction of History as a subject on its own in basic schools will give the Nigerian child a self-identity of who they really were.
He had added that Nigeria owes both the present and future generations the responsibility of removing all inhibitions against opportunities of acquiring morals and ethics as taught in the religious traditions. But more than three years after the pronunciation, the subject was still left at the background where it had been thrown, that’s what prompted this writer to pick a pen, and written a powerful article on the study of History as a core subject in our school curriculum. The writer titled it, “Why Government Should Return History to School Curriculum”, and indicated that the delisting of the subject in the curriculum has bred a new generation of youth who could not understand the socio-political and economic realities of the country within the context of historical evolution.
“Times were, when secondary school students could paint vivid pictures of Songhai Empire, Mali Empire, Old Oyo Empire, Bornu Empire, with words. This was made possible in the past when History was part of the subjects in the secondary school curriculum,” the paper reminisced. It added that the collateral damage of expunging History from the curriculum can be appreciated from the prism of commentaries by youths on the various social media platforms.
With this I really expressed worry that after more than three years, the minister ordered for the reintroduction of the subject, nothing has been put in place, given the urgent need to change the current narratives in the polity. “The Federal Ministry of Education then developed its another plan on, Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan (2016-2019), which contains several initiatives and activities to be executed, including the disarticulation of Social Studies and the reintroduction of the teaching of History in primary and secondary schools. The plan document was approved by the National Council of Education (NCE) at its 61st Ministerial Session of September 27 – 30, 2016. Following this, the National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC), the agency that has the mandate to develop curriculum, especially at this level, was directed to start the process of disarticulating History from Social Studies. Ever since then no such course was introduce, while the study of history had also been jettisoned by the schools across the country.
Even for the Lagos State Government which took up the gauntlet using the State House of Assembly to ensure the return of History as a subject then, had never implemented the policy as none of state government’s school teaching the course as at today, the Federal Government has yet to come up with a decision on this. It had written. It had called on the Council and the NERDC to wake up from its slumber and bring back the subject as the roles of History in governance, conflict resolutions, diplomacy and international relations, science and medical studies, technological developments, nation-building and human relations are vital.
Indeed, to think that Nigeria, with our rich diversity of culture and tradition, wealth of heroes and heroines and their exploits in politics, military, commerce and sports, could attempt to end History, the way we tried to do, is preposterous, to say the least. In reality, History provides analytical insights into social formations, anthropological developments, inventions and innovations that shape what is called, “our shared humanity.” In traditional African culture, our different societies looked up to history by tapping into the knowledge and the accumulated wisdom of their forebears, their sense of values, the morality and the norms which were the foundation of every society. History has traditionally occupied a unique position in African societies and was prominent as a subject in the preparation and training of the citizen. Clan or village heads, parents, grandparents and older siblings and others from the level of the nuclear family helped to transfer history from generation to generation.
Recalled, that on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, it seems that the wishes of many Nigerians will be fulfilled as the Minister of education that time, ordered the reintroduction of History as an independent subject into the basic and junior secondary schools in the country. The Minister, who gave the directive, at the launch of History curriculum and teacher’s guide in Abuja, said such would allow students know the history of the country, added that the importance of History to nation building, national identity, patriotism and overall human development could not be overemphasized. He had also stated that one of the cardinal principles of the present administration was social and behavioural change, and History was key to its realization.
The Minister added that following this development, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) was directed to carry out the disarticulation of history from social studies curriculum. The new History curriculum, according to the Minister then, was designed to expose students to a body of knowledge that would enable them appreciate history as an instrument of national integration and nation building in the 21st century and beyond. Many stakeholders have met the news of the reintroduction of History as an independent subject in the curriculum of primary and junior secondary schools in the country with great joy.
Reacting to the reintroduction then, a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, Department of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Abuja, Dr. Usman Manu, stated that it was welcome development and one that will help in the development of the country. “History is an important subject which should not be played with. It helped to talk about the past and his we can move on to the future.” Manu however noted that the curriculum should also be upgraded, added that a school curriculum that does not solve the problem of a country, should be scrapped. Manu however noted that, the return of History to the school curriculum poses several problems; mainly the supply of teachers and lecturers.
“When History was removed, the number of people seeking admission to study it in the universities dropped significantly for obvious reasons: there was no point pursuing a course which would result inexorably in unemployment. In my school, they added Diplomatic studies, so that it will attract people, so it is History and Diplomatic Studies. It helped to bring in students to do that course,” he said.
Now, the recent discovery in the school curriculum across the Primary and Secondary Schools in Nigeria had showed that almost all our schools in the country have abandoned and not reintroduced the study of history after the directive from the former Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu. Scholars and experts who know the importance of the study of history in the nation building have decried the current neglect and warned against nonchalant attitude of Federal Government and relevant stakeholders in denying Nigerian children the opportunity of understanding their past, present and the future.
The adverse effect of this development on the behavour of younger generation in the country cannot be overemphasized. There is therefore the need for National Council on Education (NEC) to re-assess its decision and chart a new course at rejuvenating the neglected study of history by ensuring that the subject is re-introduced in the national curricular and ensure that more attention is placed at exposing the pupils to core aspect of their indigenous history and culture.
The rejuvenation of history in all the schools in the country will not as a matter of fact interfere with or affect the existence of other subjects like; social study, civic education, geography and government as they all have their relevance in promoting academic excellence. But more importantly it is very pathetic today that many of Nigerian pupils are oblivious of history of their dear fatherland, as some stakeholders have deliberately deleted it from the national curricular and far away from consciousness of the younger generation.
The attendant effect of the deliberate action of detesting history as subject of study has given free passage to incursion of Europeans, American and Asian history and culture which further bastardize our vision as a nation. The younger generation are thirsty of information and are curious at grasping any available means of gathering information about their past to enrich their knowledge. Unfortunately they have been starved and technologically driven far away from acceptable norms by foreign history and culture. And if government at all levels as well as stakeholders failed to see the study of history as salient to nation building and quickly salvage the situation and forestall Nigeria children from being swept away out rightly by the torrent of foreign culture, then it will totally have adverse effect on the incoming and unborn generations.
The behavioral pattern of Nigerian children in schools will tilt towards embracing all manner of untoward behaviours of foreign ways of life which have dealt a blow on their psyche. Recently it was discovered that Nigeria children more than a decade ago have been suffering from trauma of what could be tagged as “psychological misdemeanor” from the doze of foreign contaminated culture they have consumed. These misdemeanors which range from lack of respect for elders, cultism, poor and improper way of dressing, violent character, gangsterism among others are prevalent in the society.
How do we erase an epical administrative prowess of old Oyo empire under the control of Alafin who colonized and suppressed the Dahomey (the present day Republic of Benin) and subjected the people to annual tributes from 1743 up till when the central authority empire began to collapse in 1780 due to internal crisis that erupted between Alafin and Afonja the Kakanfo who secretly invited Hausa/Fulani Jihadists under the leadership of Alimi to depose the Alafin. The internal crisis which eventually led to the collapse of the old Oyo Empire made Dahomey to assert its political independence around 1818. Or how on earth can someone detest the socio-economic and political teaching of Usman Danfodio, the jihadist who reestablished the concept of Islam across the northern Nigeria even down to the West as well as peripheral of the Eastern Nigeria, redefining the political land scape of the affected regions with a political ideology tagged as caliphate.
More so the history of Agho Obaseki readily come to mind as it illustrated the ingenuity of Benin arts and rich culture of craft work as well as political and military prowess of the kingdom is quite resounding. Regrettably, the kingdom eventually fell in 1897 to the supremacy of the British Invaders. Thing fell apart as the European raiders sacked the rich cultural values of the kingdom and send Oba Ovonramwen N’ Ogbaisi on exile to Calabar.
There is no gain saying the fact that, the study of history is germane to nation rebuilding, as some people ignorantly may want to put it on a supremacy contest with other subjects and disciplines so as to discredit its importance. We should know that study of history is the core of academic template of all disciplines; it is the aggregate of all records and events. In other words, the study of history translate to information and knowledge gathering, equivalent to research work, understanding leadership principles bothering on governance and government, culture and norms, investigations, discoveries in medicine, socio-economic planning, beefing up of security among others.
It must be emphasized that history of a people and culture are too important elements that must not be handled with levity, otherwise such people will lack direction and heritage, because the future of this country is bright but there are some steps that must be urgently taken to address some cultural misdemeanors by reverting back to teaching of pupils about the history and culture of our land. It may surprise lots of people that our history that is not so much regarded as key to Nigeria socio-economic development has become core subject of study by some Europeans who have developed keen interest in learning African history and culture even right in Europe.
No nation or people can preserve its history and culture without deliberate plan of government by first restructuring the school curriculums to align with the new era of embracing African history. Government can also seek inputs from scholar and involve all stakeholders in reviving the study of history across schools in the country.
All school libraries should also be well equipped and furnished with books on African history. Non- Governmental Organizations that major in children affairs should also collaborate with government to achieve the set objective. Government can also set up “Cultural Club” to promote reading culture among pupils in schools; this is where the school authority as well as the concerned teachers is needed to sustain the dream. National Council on Education (NCE) should bring back the regional quiz competitions and debate on core Nigerian and African history.
Education gives knowledge, information and power; it is also the most basic insurance against poverty and ignorance. A nation without crop of educated citizenry is in perpetual darkness and nose diving towards self-destruction.
Orunbon, a journalist and public affairs analyst, wrote in from Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org or 08034493944 and 08029301122
SANWO-OLU BIDS JUSTICE BULKACHUWA FAREWELL, AS APPEAL COURT PRESIDENT RETIRES
…Lagos’ll Always Keep Faith In The Rule Of Law, Says Governor
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said his administration will not deviate from the tenet of constitutional democracy, promising that actions of the State Government under his watch will be kept within the ambit of the law.
He said his Government’s faith in the judicial system remained unshakable, adding that Lagos had been a beneficiary of the rule of law.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday while receiving the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House in Marina.
Justice Bulkachuwa, who was accompanied by other Justices of the Appeal Court, is retiring from the service after reaching the mandatory retirement period.
The Governor said Lagos would always stand on the good side of the law, adding that his administration would particularly stand in principle against actions that may undermine the independence of the Court.
He said: “Government in Lagos State is committed to ensuring that we all live within the ambit of the law. We will continue to engage the judiciary as an independent arm of the government. All of us in the executive arm will continue to uphold the tenet of the constitution that we swore to in our ways and deeds. We will not run foul of the law or any pronouncement of the Court.”
Sanwo-Olu saluted the outgoing Justice Bulkachuwa for her courage in driving far-reaching reforms in the Court of Appeal, saying her legacies would strengthen administration of justice across the country. The Governor said her legacies would be a guiding light for members of the judiciary and officers in the other arms of government.
The Governor said: “We are happy that you are proceeding to retirement at this prime age. You are now 70 years old but you are looking like a 50-year-old. Glory be to Almighty Allah for the grace of youthful appearance and energy. You have had a wonderful career in the judiciary.
“The several successes you have recorded during your tenure as President of the Court of Appeal will continue to be the legacy we will uphold in remembrance of your service to the nation. You are the oldest serving President of the Court of Appeal and you brought many reforms and laudable initiatives to strengthen the judicial process.
“Whoever is succeeding you will have enough to draw from your legacies. We hope you keep your doors open not only to the judiciary but also all of us who are looking forward to learn from your leadership skills.”
Justice Bulkachuwa said she would dedicate her retirement life to promoting girl-child education across the country, noting that she would not have achieved her potential had her father not given her a chance to go to school.
She was hopeful that the reforms and discipline she had instituted in the judiciary would be strengthened by the serving members, pointing out that she had mentored a new breed of judicial officers to entrench “good legacies” she is leaving behind.
“I will still be with my sisters and brother in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts. I have mentored so many young judicial officers and upcoming lawyers to carry on the legacies. I will still be part of the judicial system despite my retirement,” Justice Bulkachuwa said.
Asked why she chose to visit Lagos Governor in her first valedictory visit to any elected official, Justice Bulkachuwa said it was in Lagos the first Court of Appeal was set up among the three divisions created in 1976.
Besides, she said Lagos is playing pivotal roles in the administration of justice system, pointing out that majority of lawyers in the judiciary are serving in the State. She added that most of Appeal Court’s cases were being instituted in Lagos.
THERE’S NO MULTIPLE TAXATION IN LAGOS – SANWO-OLU
Lagos State Government has reiterated that there is currently no multiple taxation in Lagos State revenue system.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated this during a courtesy visit to Lagos House, Ikeja by the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) Mr. Muhammad Nami.
Placing emphasis on startups, the Governor stated that his administration will always improve on the ease of doing business in the State rather than stifle the economy with loaded taxes.
Mr Sanwo-Olu promised to embrace and support the activities of start-ups who are scared of the tax burden associated with businesses.
He also urged Nigerians to pay their taxes regularly in order for the Government to attain a balanced development at all levels, which according to him, include social infrastructure, security among others.
The Governor promised that Lagos State Government would continue with the existing relationship and further collaborate with the Federal Inland revenue Service in sharing information to aid revenue collection and ensure deliverables were met.
Sanwo-Olu lauded the Federal Government for considering the starte up businesses in the exemption threshold on taxation.
His said: “we will make sure that there is ease of doing businesses, especially start-ups, that are always scared that they have multiple taxation. There is nothing like multiple taxation in Lagos.
“It is clear that they are exempted but that doesn’t stop them from doing proper filing and ensure transparent reporting at whichever level of their business.
“We will also use this opportunity to encourage our citizens that it is only when they play their own part as responsible citizens both at the corporate and individual level that the government can come up and discharge its responsibilities.
“Development is by tax and it is only when we collect reasonably amount of tax that we can introduce development both at infrastructure level and more importantly on security so we cannot but ensure that we collaborate and corporate with you,” he said.
Responding to the Chairman on the N8.5 trillion target set by the President, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the country has the capacity to generate such amount but warned that it must be done cautiously.
Also speaking on the ongoing Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) 2020 meeting holding for the first time in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said it was an opportunity to deliberate on the proceeds that State gets from the Federal Government was used judiciously.
He said: “I am sure they know clearly that you can live up to those bills and 8.5 trillion sounds a lot but they know you have the capacity.
The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, said the aim of the visit was to ensure effective performance of the service in meeting its target and in its request to share information, collaborate in building capacity as well as engage private sector on the Value Added Tax collection.
“We feel without this collaboration, we cannot generate this 8.5 trillion that we have been mandated by the President to generate,” he said.
LAGOS-BADAGRY HIGHWAY MUST REMAIN 10-LANE CARRIAGEWAY, SANWO-OLU APPEALS TO FG
The 10-lane right-of-way already set by the Lagos State Government in the ongoing construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway needs to be preserved, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged the Federal Government.
Sanwo-Olu said the ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway would shoot up population upon completion and open the corridor up for more physical development.
The Governor stressed that the maintenance of 10-lane on the stretch currently being constructed by the Federal Government was necessary to help the State efficiently manage traffic and enhance safety of residents on the axis.
Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday, while meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Works that paid him a courtesy visit at the State House in Alausa. The Committee was led by its chairman, Sen. Adamu Aliero.
The Federal Government is currently handling the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Agbara to Seme Border, while Lagos Government is complementing the effort from Orile to Iba town, creating five-lane on either sides of the 22-kilometre-long stretch.
The Governor said reducing the expressway to two-lane highway could not be sustainable for future development, adding that the preservation of the 10-lane already set on the highway would make it easy for Lagos to extend its Blue Line Rail project into Badagry town.
Sanwo-Olu said: “I am happy that the Federal Government has taken up the construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Agbara to Seme Border. But the challenge is that we don’t want them to reduce the expressway to two lanes. We’ve said to them that they should keep the 10-lane right-of-way, instead of reducing it back to two-lane. Even if what they are going to build is two lanes on either sides, let them keep the space for expansion to 10 lanes. So that in future, either State or Federal government can build on it.
“We also have our rail infrastructure along that Badagry corridor and we are hoping that it will be completed before the end of next year. With the rail corridor and the 10-lane expressway, it means we can extend the rail project to Badagry. That’s why we must preserve the 10 lanes for future development.”
The Governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for prioritising the rehabilitation of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the budgetary support being giving to the Ministry of Works and Housing handling the project.
Sanwo-Olu praised the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for the progress recorded on the ongoing construction work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while also urging the Federal Government to hasten the rehabilitation work on other inter-state expressways, including Ikorodu-Sagamu Highway, Itokin Expressway and Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
He said Lagos had already started to leverage Public Private Partnership (PPP) in providing requisite infrastructure to support businesses and enhance economic growth. He said the State was ready to support other private-led initiatives that would bring succour to commuters and residents of the State.
Aliero said the purpose for the Committee members’ trip to Lagos was to inspect the ongoing road projects being handled by the Federal Government in the State, noting that the Senators would be visiting Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki, Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Badagry expressways to inspect the ongoing work on the roads.
The Committee chairman said Lagos deserved the attention being accorded to it by the Federal Government, describing the State as “strategic” for commerce and innovation in the country.
Although two of the road projects are being funded from Sovereign Wealth Fund and Budget, Aliero said there was need for Government at all level to partner with private sector for development projects. He said the National Assembly had start working on legislation that would make the Government to leverage PPP model in financing infrastructure.
He said: “We can no longer rely on budgetary allocations to continue funding projects. We have to find an alternative way of providing infrastructure, including roads, railway and power. Perhaps it is important now to go into PPP, giving the example laid down by Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is constructing and expanding Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki Expressway. If we had gone by budget, it might take another 10 years to complete the road.
“If we allow the private sector to construct and manage the infrastructure, it would go a long way in making provision of infrastructure easier. This is why the Senate is coming up with strong legislation to enable the private sector to go into partnership with Government to build infrastructure. Whatever money remain can be invested in social sector, such as education and healthcare delivery.”
Aliero praised the Lagos Government for complementing the effort of the Comptroller of Works in traffic management and rehabilitation of failed sections of federal roads.
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