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The Importance of Studying History for Students

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Studying history allows us to notice and realize how people and societies behaved. For example, we are capable to evaluate war, even when a nation is at peace, by looking back at previous events. History provide us with the data that is used to create laws, or theories about various aspects of society.

Love, Lekgoathi, Esterhuysen, Mkhize, Weldon, Callinicos and Sithole (2018:131) states that “Good history education promotes sympathetic and informed understanding of humanity and the human condition”. They had planned to begin with the phasing of compulsory history from 2023. They issued that with these changes, pupils would study history using innovative archaeological technologies such as computerised models that help demonstrate three-dimensional representations of ancient settlements. They think this could result in students being better prepared for careers such as policy analysts, economic historians, sociologists, social anthropologists, economists and political scientists.

History is offered as a solution to provide learners with skills that our entire basic education system should be geared towards removing anyway. History is important in nowadays because our generation is no longer interested on finding themselves, who are they and where they come from. Today’s generation does not focus on important things like their cultures. Some of them grows up not knowing their languages, they speak English even in their homes. Every parent wants their children to go private schools. They work hard so that their children have better lives. History teaches us to love our culture and ourselves. It is important to know yourself, your culture and everything left behind.

According to S. Deutsch (2005) studying history improves our decision making and judgement. History provides identity. History also teaches us understand change and societal development. History provides a context from which to understand ourselves and others. Our education system is under so much pressure. How does adding another burden help? If history is made compulsory until matric, we will be channelling precious time, energy, money and resources to yet another priority. Why are we afraid of focusing on the basics – reading, writing and Maths. Why do we keep wanting to add more burdens to our education system?

I do not support this because many students are not interested in history. Students dislike writing of essays and sources, while history is more based on essays and sources. History should not be made compulsory in the FET phase, it must carry on as a stream. Most subjects are taught poorly in schools across South Africa. Including history. We are struggling to find, train and professionally develop teachers who can effectively teach basic reading and writing.

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