History of Nigerian Social Studies Education
At the end of the topic, students should be able to:
1. Explain the development of social studies education in Nigeria
Teaching social studies powerfully and authentically begins with a deep knowledge and understanding of the subject and its unique goals. Social studies programs prepare students to identify, understand, and work to solve the challenges facing our diverse nation in an increasingly interdependent world. Education for citizenship should help students acquire and learn to use the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that will prepare them to be competent and responsible citizens throughout their lives. Competent and responsible citizens are informed and thoughtful, participate in their communities, are involved politically, and exhibit moral and civic virtues.
The teaching of social studies in schools is vital if we expect the young people of this nation to become active, responsible citizens; upholding democratic values. Unless children acquire the basics of knowledge, attitudes, and skills in social studies taught in school, it would be
difficult preparing them as effective citizens of the 21st century.
1.2. Historical Development of Social Studies
Education in Nigeria
Two sources are always given as being the origin of social studies education. While some scholars are of the opinion that social studies education stated in the USA, others say it began in Great Britain. However, it is generally accepted that social studies was introduction in the curriculum after the second world war. The development of social studies was born out of the need to create a better and ideal society in return for the great pain and the damaged experienced during the two world wars. The subjected was perceived to be relevant to the understanding of man and his problems. And that by studying social studies, pupils who would later become adults, would become socially conscious and responsible members of the society. Even right from the development stage, social studies education was aimed at producing authentic African experience, quite different from that of the colonial cultures.
The subject was introduced into Nigeria in 1958 by educators of the Ohio University school project which sought to introduce its teaching into the teachers colleges in the former western region of Nigeria. By
1960, some African, including Nigerians had set up different committees to look into the different school curricula to find a way of indigenizing them.
There was a conference in Mobassa (Kenya) in 1968 in which social studies was extensively discussed.
Back at home in Nigeria, in 1963, an experiment was carried out in Ayietoro High school. It was sponsored by the United States Agencies (USAID) and Ford Foundation. This was regarded as the second attempt to introduce the subject into Nigerian school. The 1965 conference for principals in Nigeria helped to propagate the message of the Aiyetoro experiment.
The former twelve states of Nigeria went further to organize activities to promote social studies in their various states through their educational institutions and schools.
In further development of the subject, many seminars and workshops were organized by bodies like the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERC), Social Studies Association of Nigeria (SOSAN), the Comparative Education Study and Adaptation Centre (CESAC) of the University of Lagos, UNICEF etc.
Today, Social Studies is being taught in the primary schools, junior secondary schools, NTI Grade II Certificate, College of Education and universities in Nigeria. One can even obtain a PHD in social studies.