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Why Social Studies Should Be Compulsory For Varsity Students- Egwunyenga

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By Ben Nwanne

The Vice-Chancellor of Delta State University, Abraka (DELSU), Prof. Andy Egwunyenga has proposed that Social Studies be taught as a required course for undergraduate students because of its importance in the present day Nigerian society.

Egwunyenga made the proposal at the opening ceremony of the 39th Annual National Conference of the Social Studies Educationists Association of Nigeria (SOSAN) held on August 15, 2023 at the 500-capacity Hall of the Faculty of Education of the University.

The theme of the conference was Social Studies Now and the Future: Emerging Dimensions”.

Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Rosemary Okoh, Egwunyenga explained that Social Science was such an important subject because “it connects to the past, present and the future. Everybody needs to be reminded where they are coming from.”

In his welcome address, the National President of the Association, Prof. A. Yusuf, explained that the conference was a gathering of Social Studies educators, researchers and practitioners “who are passionate about advancing the field of Social Studies in Nigeria and beyond.”

He articulated the role of Social Studies as a “vital discipline that helps us understand ourselves and our environment in relation to the past, present and future.

“It equips us with knowledge, skills and values to become active and responsible citizens in a diverse and democratic world.”

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He emphasized that Social Studies enables citizens to appreciate the richness and complexity of their culture and heritage, as well as the challenges and opportunities in a globalised and interconnected world.

According to him, the theme of this year’s conference reflected the need for Social Studies educators and researchers to explore new perspectives, approaches and issues in Social Studies education in response to the changing needs and demands of society.

Referring to a Malcolm X comment about education that “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it”, he urged participants to pursue their passion for Social Studies education with enthusiasm, curiosity and creativity.

Also, the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Chairman of the 39th Annual Conference of the Social Studies Educationists Association of Nigeria, represented by the immediate past Dean of the Faculty of  Education, Prof. Emperor Kpankpan, commended the association for choosing an apt theme, which could not have come at a better time than now “when Nigeria, as a country, is bedeviled by a myriad of socio-economic and political problems, which seem to rock the very fabric of the existence of the country.”

The Dean identified over twenty pressing social problems in Nigeria including armed robbery, kidnapping, banditry, “yahooism”, herders/farmer’s clashes, progress stiffening corruption, examination malpractices ,among others, adding that social studies was the panacea to the hydra-headed problems confronting the nation.

While expressing optimism on the successful outing of the Association, the foremost educationist suggested that in addressing the problems in Nigeria, Social Studies teachers should incorporate in their lessons Sidney’s (2009) “cross-domain 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, learning how to learn, communication, collaboration information and ICT literacy.”

Two top Social Studies scholars, Professor Emma Osakwe and Professor Williams Akpochafo, were given awards in recognition of their contributions to the development of Social Studies in Nigeria.

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