The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to publish the details of the controversial new curriculum of education if they have no hidden agenda.
CAN said that it was not convinced that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and NERC had told Nigerians the truth about the controversial policy.
Through Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN President, Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the umbrella body for Nigerian Christians said that the perceived dangers packaged in the new curriculum of education has brought the document to the fore since it raised the issue at a meeting with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
The association asked the government to ensure that there is no discrimination against any student because of his or her religious belief in public schools.
Ayokunle said that the umbrella body of all Christians in the country foresaw the danger ahead if the curriculum that merged Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with the Civic Education is made to stay.
He highlighted some perceived discriminations against Christian students in the curriculum.
Ayokunle said: “…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 on 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 country on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this country?”
To buttress his point, Ayokunle cited a case in Kwara State where a student was punished for refusing to register for Islamic Religious Knowledge.
He said: “A Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with a cane by an 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.
“We demand that the 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 to know what it contains. 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,” he said.
In a reaction, the Federal Ministry of Education maintained that CRK had not been removed as a subject from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.
The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs Chinenye Ihuoma, said that the ministry only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values.”