Civics and History

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As a youngster I was taught Civics by the Principal of my school. Looking back, it seems to me that the idea of including such a subject in the school’s curriculum was to build an understanding of the role that individual citizens should play in any culture or community. In History lessons, I was also taught about traditional systems of governance in the African societies that were forerunners of the nation I lived in at the time (Nigeria). I have no idea whether or not Civics was taught in other schools to my contemporaries, but I sense that they did have History lessons that dealt with the aforementioned themes.

A considerable number of my peers were citizens of more than one country, due their parents having been educated outside of their lands of origin as a result of colonialism. Those of us in that category have chosen in most cases to live our adult lives in the nations where we were born, as opposed to where our parents originally came from.

I haven’t followed events closely enough to identify the specific moment in time when it was decided to do away with History of our forbears being taught in a thorough way in the Nigerian education system, but I am aware that many folks who emerged in later years have not been informed in the same way as me and my contemporaries.

Is it any wonder then that there is so much mistrust and misunderstanding expressed in social media forums about the history and values of our people?

The gaps in knowledge and mental training that have been carried forward into adult life as a result of decisions of this sort being made can make all the difference between a society that works and one that fails. Even if the powers that be decide to rectify the situation for the youngsters of today, such a decision is hardly likely to have any impact on those who are about to take up the reins of authority. What were the educationists of the interim era aiming to achieve?