An investigation into the implementation of oral history in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase based on the views of first year history education university students.

16 February 2012

With the introduction of Outcomes Based Education (OBE) in South Africa in 1998, simultaneously a new curriculum, Curriculum 2005 (C2005), was developed. This curriculum confronted past problems with the way history had been taught in schools – both in terms of the methodology and content. It was envisaged that learners should now play an active role in their learning experiences through investigation, researching, debating and interpreting history through various sources. One practical means of doing so is emphasised through the study of hidden and neglected histories, such as, for example local histories. In this regard the Department of Education (DoE) purposefully emphasised the importance of oral history as an alternative and effective methodological approach to constructing a social history with learners in schools. As such oral history can be seen as a link between the intended aims of the curriculum for history education, and a pragmatic means of achieving this. The skills that are involved in oral history are also key to what C2005 envisaged for history in terms of being learner-centred, outcomes based and being able to form a part of the historical process of researching, recording, documenting and writing. This paper will critically examine the implementation of oral history in schools, as seen through the experiences of first year history education students, who have recently completed an oral history project in their Grade 12 year at school.