Restores CRK as stand-alone subject
James Emejo in Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution directing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to â€œseparate our national values from religious valuesâ€ and that each subject be taught independently.
Essentially, the lawmakers said religious studies should be distinct from civic education as a subject while the former should be taught in accordance with the dictates of the constitution.
The resolution appeared to have put an end to recent controversies over the alleged removal of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) from the education curriculum going by a new policy which is to take effect from September.
The lower House, after an intense debate on a motion sponsored by Hon. Beni Lar (PDP, Plateau) seeking to make civic education an optional instead of a compulsory subject for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) said the revised Secondary School curriculum was in breach of the constitution and called for a reversal.
The House further agreed that while civic education should be taught as Government without the religious component, it should be made compulsory in both primary and secondary levels.
The House noted that the Federal Ministry of Education had introduced a revised curriculum without due consultation with parents and stakeholders.
The new nine-year Basic Education Curriculum on Religion and National Values Consolidated Religious Education and Civic Education under National Values made civic education a compulsory subject for SSCE.
Leading the debate, Lar argued that the curriculum for primary one to three, which is the formative stage of a child does not provide for adequate teaching of the religious beliefs of the people but rather destructive half-truths, capable of destroying the fundamentals of the religious beliefs and erodes the essence of such religion being taught the children.
She expressed concern that the new curriculum appeared to conflict with certain religious beliefs and made the teaching of those beliefs compulsory.
The legislator noted that Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution makes the country a secular state, requiring that religion be separated from national values.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Yussuff Lasun, who presided over yesterdayâ€™s plenary, said the new education policy attempts to severe parentsâ€™ influence and religious guidance over their children, particularly in their formative years- a right which is already enshrined in the constitution.
Also, the House Majority Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, said the new policy was defective and violated the provisions of the constitution. He also moved against suggestions that the education ministry be invited to explain the rationale behind the new policy, stressing that the idea of fair hearing does not apply because it was clearly a constitutional matter.
The general consensus of the lawmakers was that the issue was a constitutional matter which required no debate.
The new policy had been criticised by Nigerians, particularly the Christians who saw it as a ploy by the current administration to Islamise the country.