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History education in Nigeria: Past, present and future


Grace Oluremilekun Akanbi

Alice Arinlade Jekayinfa 


Before and after the introduction of western education to Nigeria by Christian missionaries, the teaching and learning of history was given pride of place, although the contents of school history privileged the Bible and English history by celebrating the importance of the arrival of the colonial powers with their religion. This position, indeed this narrative, was challenged and contested by Nigerian nationalists even before 1960. Therefore, the need to overhaul the curriculum content arose after independence in October 1960 which led tothe organisation of the 1969 Curriculum Conference. Part of the outcome of the conference was the emergence of the first Indigenous education policy in 1977. However, in 1982 History was delisted from the basic school curriculum and retained only as an elective subject in the Senior Secondary school. The outcry from stakeholders since then (over thirty years) recently reached a crescendo and has yielded a positive change, as History was reintroduced into the school curriculum in the 2018/2019academic session. This paper, therefore, addresses the following questions, with recommendations on how the study of History might be promoted at all levels of education in Nigeria: 


What was the position of history education in the past? 

Why was it delisted from the basic school curriculum? 

What were the consequences of the delisting? 

How did it find its way back into the basic school curriculum? 

After reintroduction, what next? 


History education, Curriculum, National education policy, Vernacular and Indigenous histories, Social Studies, Collective memory, History wars

How to Cite:

Akanbi, G. O., Jekayinfa, A. A. (2021). History education in Nigeria: Past, present and future. Historical Encounters, 8(2), 73-89.


  • Published 6 May 2021

  • Double Blind Peer Reviewed

  • Author Retains Copyright

  • Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License

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