Jennifer Akamanu, Lagos
The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has replied the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) for saying Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) was not removed from secondary school education curriculum.
CAN, while insisting that the Buhari government removed the subject, dared the Ministry “to publish the full details of the controversial new Curriculum of Education if they have no hidden agenda”.
Recall that Adamufaulted the position of CAN over the matter when he spoke to newsmen after Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House on Wednesday.
Adamu said dummy was sold to CAN by the social media and probably by an individual who wanted to add to the growing tension in the country.
His words: “On the issue of CRK which the social media took up and deceived the leadership of CAN and they believed it because as l read in the newspapers, they were asking the acting president to confirm it, there is no truth in it at all.
“It was just the work of somebody’s imagination; probably somebody who wishes to raise the tension of the country after the Biafra issue and then quit order given by some young people in the North; it then follows that somebody is trying to fuel the embers of the tension. There is no truth whatsoever in it. Certainly, there was a policy in 2012 which was given effect in 2014 before this government came in.
“One of the things I did when I assumed the office of the minister was to speak to the National Educational Council to disarticulate History from Social Studies curriculum because we needed young people to know History. You cannot know who you are without knowing who your ancestors were.
“The next thing l did was to ask the National Council on Education (NEC) to accept and agree to it and they did accept and agreed. The CRK has been made compulsory for all Christians and Islamic Religious Knowledge has also been made compulsory for all Muslims”.
Firing back on Thursday, CAN President, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, recalled that the body exposed “perceived dangers packaged in the new Curriculum of Education”, which it raised in its recent meeting with the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
In the statement, Ayokunle noted: “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?”
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.
”The chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Delta State has also called to complain that students are calling him to say that their teachers are saying that they will no longer be doing CRK as a subject again. Who is deceiving whom?
”As far as CAN is concerned, the curriculum is a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly and its implementation must be stopped until all the grey areas are addressed. Like we told the Acting President, its introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons.
”If we are going to do pilgrimage together as a nation, there must be fair play, mutual respect for one another and justice which can be brought about by different arms of government. We demand for justice from the government on this matter very quickly.
”We request for a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or a wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the students that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings that are happening now and then.
”Those of us who passed through the former system where we all did devotion in the morning and in the afternoon at closing in our schools lived together peacefully irrespective of our religions. The government must stop the operation of this new curriculum. It did not come out of a forward looking research but a backward one. A stitch in time saves nine.
”We caution the Federal Government against the use of propaganda in addressing this sensitive issue because the unity of the country is at stake. We are not crying wolves where none exists.
”We are disappointed hearing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu claiming that CAN was believing a piece of misinformation received from the social media.
”To say the least, 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.
”We counsel 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.
CAN further demanded “That the implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organized where all the stakeholders must be well represented.
”That 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.
”That there was nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies. What people are yearning for is a return to Civic Education and History for obvious reasons as distinct subjects.
”That the heads of the parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Education should be overhauled with a view to balancing the religious dichotomy. A situation where 13 of their heads are Muslims while the remaining four are Christians is an ill-wind that would blow no one any good.
”That the Presidency should call for a meeting of all stake holders to look at this curriculum line by line and for all of us to own it together before implementation”.