6 thoughts on “Why do schools not teach more history about Ancient Egypt and Africa?

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    Are you talking about High School? Frankly, the teachers at the High School level barely have time to teach the stuff they do about world history. It’s an awful lot of time to be covered in just one year.

    My eldest daughter (after I had been teaching her history on the sly) complained that her world history class was like taking a canoe ride through the subject. If the subject is available in another class and you have interest TAKE IT. Single subject history classes are always more interesting, because you are in that class because you really WANT to know.

    I agree, it OUGHT to be a mandatory part of the curriculum, can you find the money in the budget to pay for it?

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    Honestly, Africa and Egypt havent done anything special, can you remember something they’ve done in the past few decades?

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    Yeah, someone ought to be horsewhipped about that.

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    the principal decides what to teach, and decides what to put upon the curriculum. not every school teaches the same thing.

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    Well… there are several factors, some more legitimate than others. And some schools DO teach them. (I’m going to make the assumption that you’re talking about American schools here). I went to public school in California less than 5 years ago, and while in the unit on ancient civilizations in we talked a *lot* about ancient Egyptians. And in high school, my world history class spent a considerable amount of time on African civilizations, including the medieval states of Mali and Ghana, the Kongo kingdom, the Swahili city-states, etc. Granted, however, this was an advanced class and I don’t think that was all included in most classes, or if it was, it was very brief.

    Partly it’s a legacy of older textbooks being written when that stuff wasn’t considered as important, rightly or wrongly. Updating the curriculum and teaching materials accordingly takes money that institutions don’t always have, and they might not see a need to update.

    Partly its because Europe contributed a lot more directly to America’s current identity, political structures, culture, etc. than Africa did. That does not make African culture and history any less valuable in and of itself, of course, and it definitely deserves to be studied, but it makes it harder to connect historically to America today.

    Partly it’s because studying African history is simply *harder*. Fewer African civilizations had written records, or at least records that survived, so we’re left with ruins and fragments of accounts from outside travelers. For decades, professors and researchers have been slowly building consensus about what African civilizations were like, but there’s still a lot of guessing and missing info, which makes it hard to build a good course.

    And, of course, there’s simply a lack of time. Students have other subjects to learn besides history, and one big world history course (and that’s all most students that I knew got in high school, one or two "world history" courses and one "US History" course) can’t really do credit to *any* world area.

  • November 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    Most schools I imagine tend to concentrate on teaching the history of their own country. However, my sons’ schools have done some work on ancient Egypt and ancient Greece and Rome. I suppose there is only a limited amount of time for teaching history in most schools. and your own country naturally takes precedence.

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