Parents should stimulate interest in history

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-A history teacher at Windhoek High School believes more can be done by parents and society at large to spark learners’ interests in studying history and subsequently pursuing history-related careers.

Albert Arries in an interview with New Era last week noted that a large number of learners are not well-informed about Namibian history. This is despite the fact that history books try to portray Namibian history in a truthful, accurate manner as much as possible, he explained.

“When they (learners) learn history, the first time they learn about it is in school,” Arries said, adding that historical projects, days and creating awareness of historical events would stimulate an interest among the youth.

Arries said many parents, grandparents and relatives of learners were directly involved in the history of Namibia. As a result, sharing this history with their children could spark an interest and love for history, said Arries.

“Learners have one-dimensional views of our heroes and yet many of these learners’ parents and grandparents were directly involved in the history of this country,” Arries stated. These are the people who can best broaden their children’s understanding of history by having discussions and debates based on the events of the past, he explained.

It would have been ideal if learners came to school with an informed view of history, Arries believes. He opined that on a national level much emphasis is given to the history of anti-colonial resistance, although Swapo was not the only political movement that contributed to the history of this country.

“Many learners have questions on the role of the South African Defence Force, SWANU’s role and other fighters, such as [Herman] Ya Toivo, in the liberation struggle,” said Arries. He feels that a broader representation of Namibian history would broaden and expand learners’ views.

He added that many political leaders are more focused on promoting science-related subjects. “As good as that is, we are not growing socially and if we are not careful our history will be lost in translation,” Arries cautioned.

Learners were not made aware of possible history careers, such as anthropology and archeology. “Learners might be interested in it but society does not promote these careers for Namibians,” Arries underlined.

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