Council on Education Endorses Separate Religious Studies, Revised Curriculum for 2018

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  • Reinstates study of History

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The National Council on Education (NCE) has endorsed the Federal Government decision to separate Christian Religious Studies (CRS) and Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) as stand-alone subjects, after their infusion into one single subject generated controversy.

The decision was taken at the 62nd meeting of NCE was held in Kano State, from July 27 to 28, which was presided over by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, and supported by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Gozie Anwukah.

Other members of Council at the ministerial session included State Commissioners for Education and the FCT Education Secretary. The theme of the meeting was ‘Inclusive education: creating quality learning opportunities for all: implications for concurrency in education in Nigeria.’

In a communique issued yesterday and obtained by THISDAY, “Council reiterated its decision at the 61st NCE meeting of September, 2016 in Abuja, that Christian Religious Studies (CRS) and Islamic Studies (IS) be separated from Religion and National Values and handled as stand-alone subjects.”
The “Council further stated that Christian Religious Studies is a core and compulsory subject for Christian students while Islamic Studies is a core and compulsory subject for Muslim students at the basic and secondary education levels. Council regarded the controversy surrounding the matter as misdirected and unwarranted.”

After extensive deliberations on the memoranda presented to the meeting and other issues on how to improve Nigeria’s education sector, the Council also noted the need to improve on the organisation of Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE) Plenary and NCE meetings in terms of categories and number of delegates and the mode of presentation of documents, among others.
According to the Council, “NERDC has commenced a nationwide impact assessment study on the implementation of the 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) and the Senior Secondary education curriculum.”

They also stated that “NERDC has completed the process of disarticulating the History content from the Social Studies curriculum; that NERDC has commenced preparations for separating Christian Religious Studies (CRS) and Islamic Studies (IS) from the Religion and National Values Curriculum of the revised 9-Year BEC and copies of the separated curriculum will be made available to schools in 2018.”
Other decisions arrived at the meeting include: that the revised 34 Trades and Entrepreneurship curricula shall be piloted in selected schools in nine states; cancellation of the second interview test of the National Common Entrance Examination by the Federal Ministry of Education; the existing facilities at literacy centres are not suitable for adults and do not support learning for people with special needs; and the need to start piloting the NVQs particularly in areas where National Occupational Standards have been developed and classified as well as the need for States participation in NVQs delivery for skills of the youth.

In the communique, the Council agrees on the need to retrain lecturers in all faculties/schools and departments in tertiary institutions for effective implementation of inclusive education in curriculum delivery; that adequate funding, provision of learning materials, equipment and structures are needed in Inclusive Schools; the efficacy of Service Learning Strategy (SLS), an activity-based co-operative strategy that is mainly project-based, that provides inclusiveness as well as quality learning; that UNICEF and ESSPIN have supported most States to develop education strategic and operational plans, which they can review to include activities that will address issues of exclusion; and the achievements and challenges of States, FCT and Parastatals in the implementation of NCE decisions.
They also urged states and the FCT to ensure commitment to the implementation of ECCDE/Pre-primary education by taking advantage of the re-introduction of 5% utilisation of UBE Matching Grant for ECCDE; States and the FCT to commence Community Based Early Childhood Care (CBECC) initiative by selecting as a pilot two hard-to-reach communities in every Local Government and establish CBECC in the communities in order to give learning opportunities to all; and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to fast-track the inclusion of NVQs in the Scheme of Service.

The NCE at the meeting also urged the states and FCT to ensure that all artisans and craftsmen are certified and licensed in their occupation before they can practise in line with global best practice; Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Manufacturers’ Association of Nigeria (MAN) to accept the technical teachers during training which is for a period of one month every three years.
They also encouraged the states, the FCT and other stakeholders to acquire the Braille-Note Apex (or similar devices) for their institutions and train their teachers and candidates with visual impairment on its use for enhanced teaching, learning and assessment; Federal Ministry of Education (FME), States, the FCT and all relevant stakeholders to take more proactive measures in intensifying advocacy, sensitisation and campaigns for the achievement of inclusive education in the country; FME, States and the FCT to recruit qualified teachers and sign language interpreters for the success of inclusive education.

The Council, among other things, directed the FME, States and the FCT to establish at least one Gifted and Talented students’ Academy in their respective States; public tertiary institutions to include courses on inclusive education as part of their staff development for TETFund intervention; and States, the FCT and other stakeholders to support NOUN in the provision of structures and facilities for the operation of Study Centres for effective delivery of inclusive education to all groups of learners.
Delegates at the meeting included officials from the Federal and State Ministries of Education, Higher Education, Science and Technology; the FCT Education Secretariat, Federal and State Education Parastatals and other agencies.

Others were the Nigeria Academy of Education, the Armed Forces Education Corps, Nigeria Police Education Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Prison Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Character Commission, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Proprietors of Innovation and Vocational Institutions (APIVI), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Nigeria Association for Special Education Teachers (NASET), Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria (AOPSHON), National