The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has insisted that the Christian Religious Knowledge [CRK]has been removed from school curriculum across the country and has presented fresh facts to back up the claim.
The Christian body made its position known in a statement issued on Thursday and signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant, Media & Communications to CAN President, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle.
In the statement made received by Elombah.com, CAN rubbished the Minister for Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, saying he is not saying the whole truth.
It also demanded details of new education curriculum, says it should be suspended, and warned against merging of CRS, IRS and Civic Education.
Pastor Oladeji also dared 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.”
CAN, therefore, demands the suspension of implementation of the curriculum till a workshop is organized, and that heads of parastatals and agencies in the Education Ministry be overhauled with a view to balancing the religious dichotomy.
The statement reads in full:
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.
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, his eminence, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo A. 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.
It also disclosed some perceived discriminations against Christian students in the curriculum.
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?”
To buttress his point, 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.”
But in a swift reaction, 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”.
But 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.
“Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics”.
Surprisingly, she admitted “I have not seen the details but in a case where you have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.”
“Arabic and Islamic Studies are not standing alone. Islamic Religious Study and Christian Religious Study as well as national values will be taught under a new subject,’’ she said.
In his own reaction, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Professor Ismail Junaidu who also faulted our position, contradicted the position of the Ministry but his defence too is full of loopholes.
According to him, “NERDC hereby states that: CRK is still taught in schools; as a separate distinct subject with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide.
That “CRK is not a theme in Civic Education. Civic Education is a distinct subject on its own which teaches the rudiments of good citizenship”.