Making history a compulsory school subject - opportunities for memory institutions

  • Isabel S. Schellnack-Kelly University of South Africa
Keywords: School pedagogy, Memory institutions, Digital collections, History pedagogy, Millennials, Skoolopvoeding, Herinnering instellings, Digitale versamelings, Historiese opvoedkunde, Millenials


In an article in the Mail & Guardian, Ra’eesa Pather reported that a ministerial task team established by the Department of Basic Education has recommended that history should be a compulsory subject in South African schools from 2023. According to this report, this will apply to children Grades 10 to 12. This development provides the country’s memory institutions with ideal incentives to re-position their collections as valuable tools in the school pedagogy experience and embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
This article explores archive facilities around the world and demonstrates how these institutions provide educational opportunities to schoolchildren and the youth. Many archival institutions have digitised collections that are relevant to the school curriculum programmes. This provides incentives for attracting new users to view and use the archival collections that are connected to the school syllabus. This article explores different websites and social media pages of archives around the world and similar facilities in South Africa that may assist in strengthening the proposal for history becoming a compulsory school subject.
Data was collected by means of searches on websites and social media sites of archives facilities in Australia, Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, on-site visits were undertaken to archive facilities and heritage sites in the United States and South Africa.


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