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Why do rural learners choose or not choose history?

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The aim of this case study was to understand why in the rural area of Zululand, South Africa learners chose or did not choose History as a school subject. Qualitative research methods, including open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, were used in the process. Both learners and teachers made up the research population. What emerged in terms of results was that learners in a rural context did not choose history as a subject because they were influenced by their peers, parents, siblings and teachers not to do so. In the process those who did choose History were belittled. Learners also did not choose History because they did not like certain topics like apartheid, found the subject boring and too much work, thought the subject would not give them work and would hamper their efforts to go to university and to leave the rural areas behind. However, a small group of learners did, despite the pressure that they had to endure, elected to do History at school. They chose the subject because they liked the kind of knowledge that History represented and the actual content of the subject and viewed History as something that must be told to others. They also thought the subject would provide them with work in a rural context. Importantly learners who did choose History did see a future for themselves in the rural areas. What can be concluded is that History as a subject is under immense pressure in rural schools from all sides because of misrepresentations and negative experiences around the subject. It is only a small group of dedicated learners who still chooses the subject in a rural context.


M. Ed. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2013.


Rural development--KwaZulu-Natal., Rural schools--KwaZulu-Natal., Education, Rural--KwaZulu-Natal., History--Study and teaching--KwaZulu-Natal., Theses--Education.