Background of the Study
Education is an aged-old concept that has existed since man
inhabited the universe. It is a process of transmitting what is worthwhile from
generation to generation. The primary purpose of education is to produce
effective members of the society whose three ‘Hs’ – head, heart and hands have
been well developed to enable them live as effective and acceptable human
beings. An effective education should be one that prepares members of the
society to be able to fulfill their personal needs and to perform their civil
obligations. (Azikiwe, 2009).
Education as an instrument of change seeks to change the environment through
the thoughts of human beings and events in the environment. It is a process by
which the individual is enabled to develop his knowledge, skills, values and
attitudes both for his own benefit and for the benefit of the society. The
process by which every society attempts to preserve and upgrade the accumulated
knowledge, skills and attitudes in its cultural setting and heritage in order
to foster continuously the well-being of mankind and guarantee its survival
against the unpredictable at times hostile and destructible elements and forces
of man and nature. (Okafor, 2000).
Education can be considered as a major tool for the systematic
and sustainable human and material development of nations. It is a priority
sector in every well-meaning society. It can be considered as a process of
acquiring knowledge, skills, attitudes, interests, abilities, competencies and
the cultural norms of a society by transmitting it to the coming generations so
as to enhance perpetual development of the society. To actualize the above
mentioned educational benefits, curriculum is developed for every school
subjects in various educational levels. Recognizing the role of teachers in the
implementation of any educational policy, Ukeje in Ebiringa (2012) observed
that education may unlock the door to modernization but it is the teacher who
holds the key. It is the teacher who determines what happens in the classrooms
especially in the social study classroom. Successful implementation of any
educational programme can only be assured through teachers who have acquired
necessary competencies in terms of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.
Education is generally acknowledged as a vital tool for sustainable
development. This position is clearly supported by the National Policy on
Education (NPE) which perceives education as an “instrument per excellence for
effecting national development in Nigeria. (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
Thus, the propriety of Education as a vital tool for development in predicated
on its relevance to the needs, problems and aspirations of human society.
Indeed, throughout history, societies both developed and under developed, complex
and non complex have used education as
a relevant instrument for effecting desirable social, economic, political and
technological changes. (Obanya, 2002). This trend no doubt has influenced the
philosophy of education pf many countries of the world including Nigeria.
Naturally, the relevance of any school subject in the educational system is primarily
based on its potentials in achieving the overall goals of education of that
society. This is largely so because both the goals of education and those of
the various school subjects are derived from the needs, problems and
aspirations of the wider society. Social Studies is one of the core school
subjects at the basic education level in Nigeria which is expected to
contribute significantly to national development if effectively taught. (FRN,
The origin of the teaching of social studies in form of three traditional subjects
Economic, Geography and History separately could be said to be dated back to
the early history of education in Nigeria. The knowledge being passed to
Nigerian pupils under these three subjects was foreign and British oriented.
The Nigerian child was being educated out of his immediate environment, out of
his society and culture. The knowledge being gathered was totally irrelevant to
the child in the Nigerian society. Social studies of those days could not
inculcate in the Nigerian child an awareness of his local environment, national
consciousness, national pride among others, all of which are the basic
objectives of the present day social studies. (Mezieobi, 2002).The National
Council for the Social Studies (NCSS, 1994) an apex professional Body for the
Social Studies education in United States of America (USA) defines Social
Studies as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to
promote civic competence. Okeke (2003) describes social studies as the study of
an organized group of people living together in an area with developed ways
of getting along with one another and the ways of serving as a group.
Social studies is one of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) core school
subject which can contribute to nation building efforts in Nigeria (Ezudu and
Ezegbe 2005). They agued that social studies ensures acquisition of relevant
body of knowledge which can develop in students positive values, attitude and
skills. Supporting this assertion, Ezegbe and Nwaubani (2009), observed that
social studies objectives are meant to achieve the national objectives in
Nigeria. As an integrated holistic approach to learning, social studies offers
effective citizenship training needed for national cohesion.
According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), (2004:10), the following
objectives and goals are to be achieved for the nation through the study of
* The development of an understanding of the relationship
between human beings and their environment in past and present.
* The development of an understanding of the
interrelationships and effects of beliefs, values and behavioural patterns and
the application of this knowledge to new situations.
* The development of the ability to examine one’s own beliefs,
values and behaviours and the relationship between them.
* The development of human relations, skills and attitudes that enable one to
act in the interest of self and others.* The development of positive
* The development of the competencies to acquire,
organic, assess and present information of the purposes of problem solving and
issue classification.Global objectives of social studies includes:
* The development of an understanding of their social,
physical, economic, scientific and technological environment.
* The development of an awareness and appreciation of their cultural
heritage beliefs, values, behavioural patterns, skills for their role in the
society and to enable them apply such knowledge, to new situations