Is Social Science Crucial in School Curriculum?

Pramila Tiwari Upadhyay

Principal, The Saraswati International School, Hingoli, Maharashtra

The answer to the above question can be found when we understand exactly what social science is. Social Science as a term suggests that it is the scientific study of human society and social relationships which deals with human beings - their growth, development, behaviour, resources they use and various institutes they require to function and carry on their life smoothly. Family, workplace, school, government, judiciary: all these aspects of life are interrelated and interdependent on one another, so all of the professionals say CA, scientists, engineers, advocates, among others. We all have to live in a society interact with individuals belonging to different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, adapt to various situations and circumstances, to lead a peaceful and productive life.

In the present era of technology, it is making the people more dependent on it rather than to take the technology for the professional development, people are using it more to interact with virtual people on social media or apps, somewhere the face to face interaction and sharing of joy and sorrows are left behind, in such a scenario, it becomes more critical to include Social Science in school curriculum to connect societal people with each other with harmony and to manage stress, anger and happiness too.

Technology Fails to Deliver Essential Personal Touch: Sometimes, you just need a hug, a handshake or a pat on the back. Once in a while, I get “stickers” and “emojis” on social media. The thumbs-up symbol or smiley face is cute, but it doesn’t make me feel a personal connection with the poster. Do you use technology to pet your dog or cat? Not likely, because they couldn’t care less. Sometimes we fail to realize that, as humans, we’re also animals that need a personal touch.

The inclusion of Social Science in school curriculum signifies the importance of the subject and the role it plays in a student’s life. Social Science is incorporated in the school curriculum through a combination of subjects like History, Geography, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Law, Linguistics, Politics etc.

Of course, these subjects aren’t the only areas students can study that come underneath the Social Science umbrella. Each university has a variety of different courses included in their social sciences department - for some, they’ll also see international relations, accounting or media studies. These and more are among the social science subjects offered by many universities today.

It helps students to Become Better Citizens: Subjects in Social Studies like Economics, Political Science and History educate students on Political Ideologies, Constitutional Laws, Citizenship, Rights and Duties, Morals and Virtues, Social Code of Conduct, thus making children aware of their roles and responsibilities, particularly in relation to social and civic affairs. By providing relevant information and knowledge, skills and attitudes, the study of Social Science prepare students to grow up as active, responsible, and reflective members of society. It also teaches them to address societal and global concerns using literature, technology and other identifiable community resources.

More on learning about the different religions, social and cultural beliefs, castes and creed, nationality and ethnicity, values, languages, festivals, food and clothing, types of families, etc makes students aware that the society they live in, is diverse and multicultural and yet there are interdependence and interrelatedness between different people, families, cultures, religions and countries. This helps students to recognize the benefits and challenges of living in a world with multiple cultures and ideologies. This awareness helps them to understand the importance of democracy, rights and freedoms and the fact that in order to live and coexist peacefully each and everyone needs to respect, trust and balance the various opinions, values and attitudes, lifestyles, cultures and practices and ideologies existing in society.

Helps to Develop Critical Thinking Abilities: Social Studies inculcate higher-order thinking abilities and skills like – Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Evaluation and Synthesis, Creativity in students. Learning a variety of topics such as – Natural Resources, Water Resources, Transport, Communication, Caste System, Political Ideologies, Social Reformers, Our Cultures, United Nations, etc. give students a chance to gain appropriate information and data in various contexts. The information attained allows students to make relevant observations, identify similarities and differences, make connections between related concepts, ideas and resources.

Appropriate experiences further enhance the students ’ understanding of how different things and people affect their day to day lives. For example – in order to investigate poverty in society, students require knowledge of subjects like – History, Economics and Politics. Students first have to gain information and comprehend ideas such as discrimination, resource allocation and political priorities. They then need to understand, analyze and evaluate the existing connections between those ideas and theories to make sense of how poverty affects certain populations in the country. This knowledge can be further put to use to foster creativity if students are asked to think about ways or come up with new solutions and policies which they believe can help reduce poverty. They could be given a chance to present their ideas in the form of debates, essays, role plays or class projects. Furthermore, I conclude that incorporating Social Studies in the school curriculum ensures well-rounded education of the students.

It is not forbidden to dream of building a better world, which is by and large what the social sciences try to help us to do. How to make cities more harmonious, reduce crime rates, improve welfare, overcome racism, increase our wealth -- this is the stuff of social sciences Generally speaking, the social sciences will wield more influence in the management of public affairs and will find their proper role when the right conditions exist.

Pramila Tiwari Upadhyay

Principal, The Saraswati International School, Hingoli, Maharashtra