The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to publish the full details of the controversial new Curriculum of Education if they have no hidden agenda.
According to CAN, the perceived dangers packaged in the new Curriculum of Education has brought the document to the fore since the leadership of CAN raised the issue in a meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and asked the government to ensure there is no discrimination against any student because of religious beliefs in our public schools.
Speaking through its President, Rev Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country foresaw the danger ahead if the curriculum that merged Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with the Civic Education is made to stay.
According to Ayokunle, “In this curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in a civic education. This undermines the sound moral values that these two subjects had imparted in the past to our children which had made us to religiously and ethnically co-exist without any tension.
“Islamic Religious Knowledge was equally made available as a subject in another section without any corresponding availability of Christian Religious Knowledge. Is this not a divisive curriculum that can set the nation on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this nation?”
Furthermore, the CAN President cited a case in Kwara State where a student was punished for refusing to register for Islamic Religious Knowledge.
“A Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with cane by the Arabic Teacher because the pupil refused to do Islamic Religious Knowledge when French Teacher was not available and Christian Religious Knowledge, Hebrew or Greek were not part of the options at all”, he noted.
But in a swift reaction, Reverend Ayokunle said the Federal Ministry of Education debunked our claims that Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.
According to the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, the ministry has only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.
The CAN president pointed out that her words, to say the least, confirmed our fear when she stated that the ministry has designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.
According to her, “The alternation is not from the minister, this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said that History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.
CAN wondered “if the two religions were different subjects in the new curriculum, why did the Minister have to seek the approval of the agency “to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts”?
“Again, if the two religious studies are being taught separately, why is the agency stating that “Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.
“These statements underscore our position that the subjects were merged before! Do we need to run away from underscoring the importance of these two subjects which focus on teaching the fear of God, love for others and so on at a time like when our nation is facing the challenge of violence and breakup?
“If the new curriculum is treating the two religious subjects separately as being claimed, why do we have a satanic topic in the Civic Education like ‘IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD’? Or is the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who disclosed to CAN leadership that this was in the curriculum he earlier saw lying too?
The CAN president maintained that as far as CAN is concerned, the curriculum is a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly and its implementation must be stopped until all the grey areas are addressed. Like we told the Acting President, its introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons.
“We request for a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or a wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the students that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings that are happening now and then.
“We caution the Federal Government against the use of propaganda in addressing this sensitive issue because the unity of the country is at stake. We are not crying wolves where none exists.
We are disappointed hearing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu claiming that CAN was believing a piece of misinformation received from the social media”
The Christian apex body therefore demanded that the implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organized where all the stakeholders must be well represented.
CAN also demanded that the Presidency should direct the Federal Ministry of Education to publish the full details of the curriculum on its website to enable everyone know what it contains.