Sixteen years after her retirement as minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, has continued to receive backlash from Nigerians across the country for alleged removal of History as a subject from the Nigerian education curriculum.
Ezekwesili was appointed Minister of Education under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 2006, a post she held until she took up a World Bank appointment in May 2007.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 general Elections in Nigeria, this claim has sprung up, again, on social media platforms.
On March 22, 2023, a Twitter user tweeted that Ezekwesili’s legacy as a Minister of Education under the Obasanjo era was the removal of History from ‘our Education.’
In 2020, Ezekwesili claimed that History was long removed as a stand-alone subject in 1982 and merged with social studies as part of the basic education school curriculum.
CDD Election War Room has checked this claim and this is what we found.
Claim: Did Oby Ezekwesili remove history from the Nigerian curriculum while she was the Minister of Education?
Nigeria operated different systems of education through the colonial and post-colonial era. Up until 1954, Nigeria operated the 8-6-2-3 system– that is 8 years of primary, 6 years of secondary, 2 years for high school certificate, and three years of university.
Between 1954 to 1982, Nigeria switched to the 6-5-2-3 system. In all of these systems, History was taught as a basic education in primary and junior schools.
However, following the 1969 National Curriculum Conference and the 1980 World Bank directive for the restructuring of the school curriculum; following the non-viability of History as a course of study, Nigeria switched to the 6-3-3-4 system in 1982.
This witnessed the removal of History as a subject in the Junior Secondary classes and replaced with Social Studies. However, History was still taught in senior secondary classes, as an optional subject.
In 2007, the Federal Government launched a new curriculum known as the New Basic Education Curriculum for primary and Junior Secondary Schools. History was removed from Primary and Junior Secondary Schools’ curricula and implemented in the 2009/2010 Academic Session.
Official reasons given for the removal then were, among others, that students shun the subject; only a few jobs were available for history graduates, and there is a dearth of history teachers.
However, the fact is that History, even though offered in Senior Secondary Schools, had long been removed from Primary and Secondary Schools’ curricula since 1982, with very few schools offering it.
In 2017, the Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) announced it was set to reintroduce History as a subject in primary and junior secondary school curriculum, beginning from the 2018/2019 academic session.
In 2022, The federal government initiated the first stage of a teacher training initiative to reintroduce History as a stand-alone subject in basic education curriculum.
The claim that Oby Ezekwesili removed history from Nigeria’s curriculum is false. History was long removed as a stand-alone subject in 1982 when Nigeria embraced the 6-3-3-4 system.
In 2007 when the government officially announced History removal from basic education curriculum, it was not implemented until 2009/2010.