Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The federal government has said contrary to reports making rounds in the media, Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) was never scrapped from the secondary school curriculum.
It said Christian and Islamic religious studies are still retained in the new secondary school curriculum but as a subset ofÂ Religion and National ValuesÂ (RNV).
Â The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, in response to THISDAY enquiries yesterday, said: â€œThe subjects under RNV curriculum are grouped only as subjects that are aimed at inculcating moral, ethical, social and national values in learners.â€
Ihuoma while recognising that there were changes in the characteristics of the revised nine-year Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), said the sub-themes are still recognised as CRS and Islamic Religious Studies (IRS).
Even though she did not particularly debunk the concerns raised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that while IRS was elevated as a stand alone subject to be offered together with Arabic language as alternative to French Language while CRS was downgraded as a sub-topic under RNV.
She listed the composition of the nine-year BEC discrete subjects under RNV to include: CRS, IRS, social studies, civil education, and security education.
Ihuoma said the new curriculum â€œare geared towards Â learning outcomes that would affect behaviour change to bring about value reorientation and the needed positive social reengineering in Nigeria.â€
She said: â€œThe Religious Studies and other components of the Religion and Nation Values Curriculum under basic education are distinct. Â They are subject listing under one group that should be taught and studies Â separately based on existing school time table.
Â â€œAt this juncture the council reiterates emphatically to curriculum implementers, desk officers, educational inspectorates, publishers, Â public and other end users that the Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies are distinct subject that must be taught and studied separately in schools.â€
Â She also stressed that â€œno child should be coerced or compelled to learn or taught any religious studies curriculum in school but only one out of the two that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his/her parents.â€
Speaking further, Ihuoma said: â€œThe alternation is not from the minister but purely from the National Council on Education.
Â â€œIt 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.Â Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics.â€
She however admitted not to have Â seen the details of the latest changes, but noted that Â in a case where one Â have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.