Relevance of History of Education to Teacher in Training


The adage says “a toad does not run in the daylight for nothing. If it is not running after something, something therefore should be running after it. The study of the history of education in the process of teacher training has specific goals to perform and achieve. It is believed that a sound knowledge of the past will provide the basis for the understanding of the present and project for the future. Fafunwa (1974, p. 13) noted that history is to a people what memory is to the individual. People with no knowledge of their past would suffer from collective amnesia, grouping blindly into the future without guide-posts of precedence to shape their course for possible educational reform, reflection on previous events and policies will assist considerably in planning any future course of action.  When the history of education discusses educational ideas it is also related to philosophy and psychology but none of these absolutely, since it attempts to bring together various disciplines in a historical trend. The history of education takes into consideration factors responsible for certain innovations and moderation in the development of education in a particular environment. This article will discuss the relevance of the history of education to teachers in training.

The knowledge of the past developments


The broad objectives of this article are to make the students and teachers inculcate the knowledge of the past developments in I history of education. Through the knowledge of past education innovations and developments and the study of past heroes and heroines, national consciousness may be developed. Consequently, after reading this article, the learners should be able to show the relevance of the history of education to teachers in training.

The study of the past developments

History of education deals with the study of the past developments of educational systems, theories, principles, and practices within the general historical framework of social, political, technological, and cultural changes.

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The prediction of educational systems

The historical approach to the study of education is essential to describe the past, explain the present, and probably predict future educational systems in response to our socioeconomic, and techno-political needs and dictates of the society and the nation at large.

The trace of the stages of developments

The history of education will help us to trace the stages of development of some of the advanced nations of the world and how education had been used as a potent tool to enhance their growth and development. For example, the Sputnik display of USSER forced the American government to have a radical overhaul of its educational system in favor of technological advancement. Based on the experience of the past, the history of education could facilitate our knowledge of designing an educational system functional enough for the recipients and the society at large.

The identifications of failures and successes

History of education is useful for identifying the failures and successes of other nations to enable us to evolve an educational system that is dynamic, pragmatic, and capable of promoting employability.

The sources of inspiration and guide

A historical approach to the study of education can serve as a virile source of inspiration and a guide for planning our future policies, programs, and practices in education. This is particularly applicable when we learn about the contributions of some philosophers, educators, and educational practitioners.

The traditional system of education

The course will be of great importance in studying the traditional system of education and the functions it is serving in developing an African child morally, socially, physically, intellectually, and vocationally. The cornerstone of traditional education is moral development; the history of education is interested in the latent and manifest functions of traditional education to instill in African children enviable or desirable values such as honesty, diligence, perseverance, decorum, sexual dignity, faith in God, and dignity of labor. The method of achieving these values is also a concern of the history of education.

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The Contributions of Muslim Education

The contributions of Muslim education in Nigeria cannot be underestimated. The study of the history of education will throw more light on the contributions of Muslim education and the various changes that had taken place in Muslim education over some time to adjust their programs to meet the present societal needs.

The arrival of the missionaries in Nigeria

The Western-oriented education in Nigeria was the brainchild of the Christian missionaries. A historical approach to the study of education therefore will allow us to trace the arrival of the Christian missionaries into Nigeria, the primary and secondary objectives, and the functions they have served in the development of education in Nigeria. It will also afford us the opportunity of making an appraisal of the merits and limitations of Christian missionary education in Nigeria.

The existence in a vacuum

The course helps us realize that no educational system exists in a vacuum as even the developed nations of the world are indebted to some ancient world for the growth, development, policies, practices, and programs of their educational system.


The former educational system in Nigeria was a baby of the British Colonial government whereas, when the nation saw the need for a change, the United States of America’s system of education was adapted to make our system of education to be functional. The emphasis therefore now is on employability.

The examination of the educational practices

A meaningful study of the history of education involves an examination of the educational practices of some other people, hence this course will enable us to make an objective assessment of the suitability or otherwise of the educational systems of some other developed and developing nations of the world. We would also be able to ascertain the areas of our indebtedness to other nations of the world.

The enhancement of our understanding of the emphasis

History of education will enhance our understanding of the emphasis Nigerians placed on the dynamic role of education as a potent tool for eradicating under-development and its attendant vices such as illiteracy, ignorance, diseases, malnutrition, unemployment, socio-economic and techno-political instability, superstitious beliefs, and practices, avarice, tribalism, nepotism, corruption, and ethnicity.

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The role of politics will be stressed to determine how popular education has been promoted in Nigeria since 1955 when Free Universal Primary Education was introduced into the defunct Western Region and 1956 in the defunct Eastern Region.

The facilitation of the awareness of educational history

The study of the history of education will not only facilitate our awareness of educational history but will make us understand how our educational system, practices, policies, opinions, and programs have greatly taken shapes in centuries and how the past has influenced the present and thus providing a foundation for the future for a more feasible and utilitarian educational system.

The potent instrument for a nation building

Education has been widely reorganized as a potent instrument for nation-building, history of education equips us with the strategies of development for solving the nation’s educational, economic, and political problems.

Making educational decisions

History of education will make our educational decisions, actions, and thoughts more profound, feasible, relevant, and sophisticated than they had been. For example, the history of education equips one with the knowledge of the development of medicine by the Arabians, philosophy by the ancient Greeks, and oratory by the Romans.


It attempts to offer judgment of educational development and growth about the peculiarity of such environment i. e. physical, social, cultural, economic, and political uniqueness. The roles of culture and religion on education and general socio-cultural development are brought into focus in analyzing issues involved in an attempt to assess the rate and scope of development of education

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