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, 2004).
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 social studies:
* 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 self concept.
* 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