The Nigerian government on Thursday announced the formal reintroduction of history as a subject in the country’s basic education curriculum after it was abolished 13 years ago.

Former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua-led government in 2009 removed history from Nigeria’s basic education curriculum supposedly because students were avoiding it with the claim that there were few jobs for history graduates, and that there was dearth of history teachers.

But the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Thursday, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, performed the inauguration ceremony of the reintroduction of teaching of history and training of history teachers at basic education level in Abuja.

The education minister who was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, expressed worry with the way the national cohesion was being threatened with the country retreating into primordial sentiments as a result of lack of knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria following the removal of history from the basic education curriculum.

Adamu noted that a total of 3,700 history teachers had been shortlisted for the first round of training for enhanced teaching of the subject.

The minister said that “History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classroom but for some inexplicable reasons, the stream of teaching and learning was abolished.

“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our 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 no doubt relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and 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.”

According to him, the focus of the re-introduction was the training and retraining of teachers in order to enhance their capacity development which would lead to the mastery of the subject, as teachers would be provided with the requisite skills needed to teach the subject.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, confirmed that a total of 3,700 history teachers had been selected from the 36 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for training, adding that the selection was done on a 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 that following the directive by the minister for history to be restored as a subject in schools, the commission and Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), swung into action which led to the flag-off.