Make history a living subject again


In the 20th century, the subject of history had been enthusiastically waxed by brilliant scholars who made sterling contributions particularly in relation to our indigenous affairs. A lot of interesting events had unfolded in TT. For example, in 1903, the Red House was set on fire, 1970 witnessed the Black Power Movement and 1990 did not escape an attempted coup. Before the arrival of the Spaniards to our shores, there was the stark presence of native Amerindians who contributed handsomely to our unique culture. They made hammocks, earthen vessels and a mouth-watering dish known as pepperpot.

Approximately 20 years ago, history was regarded as a major subject on the secondary school curriculum. There was an insatiable hunger for the knowledge of past events that had transpired not only in the Caribbean but in South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Students were able to recognise the validity of the subject which they pursued at the London, Cambridge and CXC examinations.

With the passage of time, less attention seems to be placed on this subject. Many schools have removed it with a preference for social studies. We must keep in mind that history is the mother of life. There can be no present and future without a past because the past, present and future are interconnected. What is presently trending, be it the covid19 pandemic or worsening environmental features, may affect generations to come. We need to learn from the blunders of our past so we would not repeat them.

The subject of history is essential for keeping our cultural heritage alive. It is imperative that fresh enthusiasm be instilled into this important subject area.