The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has challenged the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to publish the full details of the new Curriculum of Education if they have no hidden agenda.
The suspicion that there is a foul play in the new Curriculum of Education was expressed during a meeting with the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
At the meeting, the association asked the government to ensure there was no discrimination against any student because of religious beliefs in public schools.
Speaking through its President, Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country foresaw danger ahead if the curriculum that merged Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge with the Civic Education was made to stay.
It also disclosed some perceived discriminations against Christian students in the curriculum.
According to Ayokunle, “…In this curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in 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?”
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.
“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.”
But in a swift reaction, the Federal Ministry of Education debunked the claims that Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.
According to the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, the ministry had only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.
According to her, “The alternation is not from the minister, this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said that History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.
“Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics…
“I 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.
“Arabic 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.’’