Education department moves to make History compulsory in schools

Education department moves to make History compulsory in schools

A task team appointed by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga has recommended that history be made compulsory in schools.

As Huffington Post reports, the History Ministerial Task Team (MTT) was set up in 2015, and after three years, its findings were finally made public on Thursday.

According to MTT’s recommendation, history should replace Life Orientation (LO) as a compulsory subject between Grades 10 and 12, which should only remain compulsory until Grade 9.

The team came to these findings after spending three years researching how 12 other countries have taught history in their schools.

“History education at school has the potential to offer explanatory, analytical and interpretative skills. Ideally, learners have to be capable to assess arguments and develop an ability to construct counter-arguments which have to be synthesised within a historical narrative,” the team said in its report.

The report recommends that the changes be implemented on a phase-in basis, starting from 2023, to allow the education department time to prepare.

“The MTT  recommends the implementation of a phased approach which would allow the DBE (Department of Basic Education] to plan accordingly and for teachers to be trained and retrained in order to begin the process. Hence this phased approach will necessitate that compulsory history be introduced after five years of careful planning,” the team said.

The report also noted the Eurocentric nature of the history taught in the current curriculum, as well as other issues, including gender.

“Little attention has been paid to gender issues and the previous emphasison ‘great white’ men have simply been replaced with ‘great black’ men,” the report continues.

“Furthermore there is an overwhelming focus on the leaders and little attention is paid to the people, including the ordinary people on the street.”