Students lack in History

    June 21st 2010, 8:02am - Posted by Administrator

  • The schools curriculum in UK was fairly enriched with historical events, key dates, the major historical changes but as different governments came, element of history in curriculum became history, and was replaced with skill based knowledge. The School Minister, Nick Gibb has recently shown his intention to re-introduce the kings and queens, Britain’s prime ministers, the Empire and important battles to equip students with the necessary historical perspective of Britain and the world.

    He expressed his dismay over many students with remarkable A-levels were not aware Wellington leading the British at the Battle of Waterloo or of Benjamin Disraeli and William Glastone as they famous 19th century prime ministers. As per plans, a radical review of the curriculum in England is expected to lay out the subject content student will have to master at each key stage of their learning. Ministers said that “slimmer” curriculum would outline pivotal “bodies of knowledge” but offers schools more freedom to decide the teaching method. The new curriculum is expected to emphasize on popular works English literature, more mental arithmetic and focus on biology, chemistry and physics as separate sciences.

    Mr Gibb while addressing a conference in London said “The facts, dates and narrative of our history in fact join us all together. The rich language of Shakespeare should be the common property of us all.
    “The great figures of literature that still populate the conversations of all those who regard themselves as well-educated should be known to all.

    “Yet to more and more people Miss Havisham is a stranger and even the most basic history and geography a mystery.

    “These concepts must be taught. And they must be taught to everyone. Sadly, that is not always the case.”

    Mr Gibb referred to a study conducted by Prof Derek Matthews at Cardiff University who, in recent years, gave his undergraduates a simple history test of five questions that he believes should have been an easy test to answer any 18 year old. His study showed “depressiong evidence of state of the teaching knowledge in history”.

    “Almost twice as many students thought Nelson rather than Wellington was in charge at the Battle of Waterloo and nearly 90 per cent couldn’t name a single British prime minister of the 19th century,” he said.
    “And these were students at a university whose entry requirement is an A and two Bs at A-level.

    A review of the curriculum in English is expected to be outlined in a form of white paper in the autumn. The move is the result of the controversy that last year Labour’s major overhaul of the secondary education created. World famous people like Sir Winston Churchill and Hitler were removed from history skill based education were induced. Mr Gibb said: “I believe very strongly that education is about the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next.

    “Knowledge is the basic building block for a successful life. Without understanding the fundamental concepts of maths or science it is impossible properly to comprehend huge areas of modern life.

    “With little or no knowledge of our nation’s history, understanding the present is that much harder.”

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