A Professor in the Department of Social Sciences Education, University of Ilorin, North Central Nigeria, Abdulraheem Yusuf says that for Nigeria to survive as a nation, it must include social studies curriculum at all levels of education system.
Professor Yusuf stated this while delivering the 223 Inaugural Lecture of the Institution, titled ‘Socialising or Civicising the Citizens: The Quandary of a Failing Nation.’
He emphasised that one major means of inculcating and cultivating discipline among the citizens is by reintroducing social studies at all levels of education, to make Nigeria grow into a vibrant county.
He said that “a disciplined citizen observes the laws of the land without being noticed and adheres to solid moral principles.”
According to him, teaching social studies seems to be the only way to resolve Nigeria’s national problems for political and economic agreements.
“It will neutralise geographical and ethnic diversities and result in the establishment of a united Nigeria with responsible leadership.
“Without committed, disciplined and purpose-driven leadership at all levels, no action plan will succeed, no matter how noble it seems. We commonly see that the majority of those in positions of power lack the necessary skills and those who have those skills are not in positions of authority. This circumstance has resulted in inept leadership and its attendant frustrated citizenry,” the Lecturer explained.
According to him, Nigerians break laws just because they want to take undue advantage of other people.
Professor Yusuf said; “In order to gain power, we betray ourselves, we renew our hopelessness at every election, we sell our votes to elect mediocre, promise breakers and ineffective leaders, we provide questionable certificates to attain power, we jump or shunt queues and we hoard necessities to drive up prices, as evidenced by the frequent petrol scarcity.”
Professor Yusuf described a study of Social studies as the subject that covers national values, leadership, followership, unity, equity, conscience and integrity, as well as truthfulness and justice.
He said that these are effective tools for national development and also serve as powerful inspirations for Nigerians to support the nation’s unity, consciousness and peace.
The Lecturer explained further that “carefully chosen social issues such as drug trafficking, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, cultism and human trafficking are addressed in the subject stated that it not only throws light on these challenges but also offers solutions as students who acquire these value constructs grow into more receptive and responsible citizens.”
The Educationist said having a solid understanding of social studies would help elect trustworthy and responsible people to positions of authority while students who have taken social studies classes will make better leaders and be expected to work to better the lives of others.
While making a comparison between social studies and civic education, Prof. Yusuf said that since the start of civil education in Nigeria in September 2007, our rights have received more attention than our values as citizens of the country.
He said that “Civic education attempts to teach people democratic values, norms and legal practices. It helps students realize the idea that those who lack literacy or have limited awareness of their legal rights and obligations would be unable to exercise them.”
The educationist, however, recommended that Social studies should be reintroduced, taught effectively and diligently studied at all levels of education, while its curriculum must be reviewed regularly to account for the change in society, content, and techniques to meet the changing requirements of individuals and the nation.