Global Themes in Saudi history textbooks

The present study tried to find out whether Saudi history books for grades 4-12 contain global themes; in which grade levels global themes are introduced; the percentage of global themes, local history themes and Islamic history themes; and which global history themes are taught. A checklist of global history themes was developed. Those are: global systems; historical periods; ancient civilizations; world empires; world religions; human immigration; major wars; colonization and liberal movements; exploration expeditions; history of science and technology; the Industrial Revolution; international organizations; political and economic treaties and unions; conflicts; current global issues; social, economic, political and technological changes; emergence of the new world system. It was found that 68.5% of the themes were Islamic; 30% of the themes were local (focused on Saudi history); and only 1.5% of themes in the nine history textbooks were global. It was concluded that the global dimension is completely ignored in Saudi history textbooks for grade 4-12. Therefore, this study recommends that Saudi history books be reviewed and re-structured and global history themes be fused.

Prof. Reima Al-jarf
King Saud University
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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