- Opposes merging of CRK, IRK and Civic Education
- Â Says Adamu withholding truth
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Christian Association of 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 CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement thursday through his Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, , said the umbrella body of all Christians in the country foresaw the danger ahead of the curriculum that merged Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with the Civic Education.
Ayokunle said the perceived dangers packaged in the new curriculum have brought the document to the fore since the leadership of CAN raised the issue in a meeting with acting President Yemi Osinbajo, and asked the government to ensure there is no discrimination against any student because of religious beliefs in public schools.
He also disclosed what he described as some perceived discriminations against Christian students in the curriculum.
According to Ayokunle, â€œ…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.
â€œ…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?â€
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.
â€œA 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,â€ he stated.
The clergy noted that in a swift reaction, the Federal Ministry of Education debunked the claim that Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.
He stressed that the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, was reported to have said the ministry has only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into â€˜Religion and National Valuesâ€™.
He said: â€œBut 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 â€˜Religion and National Valuesâ€™.â€
The CAN quoted Ihuoma to have stated that â€œthe alternation is not from the minister; this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.
â€œNow, a new subject has been introduced called â€˜Religion and National Valuesâ€™. It is a fusion of religion and civics.â€
The clergy expressed surprise that she admitted â€œI 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.
â€œArabic 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.â€
Ayokunle also disagreed with the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Professor Ismail Junaidu, â€œwho also faulted our position, contradicting the position of the ministry, but his (Junaidu) defence too is full of loopholes.â€
He queried that â€œif the two religions were different subjects in the new curriculum, why did the minister have to seek the approval of the agency â€˜to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts?â€
Again, he said, if the two religious studies are being taught separately, why is the agency stating that â€œefforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness?
According to him, â€œThese 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 this when our nation is facing the challenge of violence and breakup?
â€œIf 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 â€˜Is Jesus the Son of Godâ€™? Or is the acting President Yemi Osinbajo who disclosed to CAN leadership that this was in the curriculum he earlier saw lying too?
â€œThe agency claims no student will be forced to register for a religion against his/her wish.
That is not true. In Kwara State, for example, the discriminatory curriculum has begun and Christian students who refused to register for it already had their bodies lacerated with cane. We have the names of the victims and their schools with us, including the text message from the parents of such students who were beaten.â€
Ayokunle also expressed disappointment at the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, claiming that CAN believed a piece of misinformation received from the social media.
To say the least, he said, that is a misleading statement from a minister who is not only trying to islamise the ministry with all the appointments he has made but denying the reality of discrimination policy under his watch.
The cleric counseled Adamu to reconcile his position with the spokesperson of his ministry who agreed that both CRK, IRK and Civic Education had been merged to become one subject before denying the reality.
Against this backdrop, CAN demanded that â€œthe implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organised where all the stakeholders must be well represented; 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, and there was nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies.