ALOR SETAR: Universities should have programmes that allow their students to better understand and appreciate the nation’s history, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
He said this could be done by enhancing social sciences and liberal arts programmes or introducing new ones such as philosophy.
“The country’s history should be well researched and its content should be an inspiration for the development of fields such as architecture, arts, education, sports, science and engineering.
“While history is already a compulsory subject for students of social sciences, historians teach it as a subject about the past and for the past.
“Consequently, history is not perceived as having values in the current fast-moving, dynamic and vibrant society, and students do not see a future for the subject.
“For this reason, there’s a need to review and reorient the pedagogy of the subject into a ‘live’ subject with an approach that emphasises on
the grand statement the future lies in the past,” he said at the opening of the 23rd Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA) 2014 here yesterday.
Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said applied history should be an essential element in the planning and implementation of national policy in all fields.
The indigenous civilisation and culture would be kept alive and, consequently, so would creativity and diversity which were the hallmarks of human development, he said.
Themed “Asian History, Historiography and Heritage: Managing Experiences and the Future”, the five-day conference organised by Universiti Utara Malaysia with the cooperation of the Education Ministry and the Malaysian Historical Society, started yesterday.