The Federal Government yesterday ordered the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to make Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge distinctive subjects in the basic education curriculum.
The merging of the two subjects under Civil Education in the current curriculum by NERDC has been a subject of controversy. The separation will douse this controversy and enhance mutual trust between adherents of the two major religions in the country.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, gave the directive for the separation of the subjects yesterday in Abuja, at a meeting with education stakeholders from the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The meeting attended by the commissioners of education from various states was part of the efforts to strengthen the partnership among the three tiers of government in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG4).
The minister noted that Nigeria has selected the Goal 4 of the SDGs, which emphasises inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning in view of the importance of education to national development.
Adamu, who spoke through the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, said the directive to separate the subjects became imperative in view of the various complaints by Nigerians, especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), that has been vociferous about the issue.
According to him, the collapse of the subjects was not done by the current administration but by the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to reduce the number of subjects offered by pupils and students in schools.
“There is this controversy over the merger of CRK and IRK in the school curriculum. There were complaints by parents that children were overloaded with so many subjects and the recommendation then was to merge one or two subjects. Unfortunately, water and oil were merged and it is not working. So, to save ourselves the agony, the two subjects should be separated. We push that to the NERDC,” he said.
In his keynote address on the occasion, Adamu reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to revamping the education sector. He appealed to the state governments as well as relevant stakeholders to support the Federal Government’s effort.
The minister also expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to achieving the SDG4 by 2030 in line with the global timeline. He said the Federal Government was aware that in the journey towards achieving the Education 2030 Agenda, key issues including the phenomenon of out-of-school children, insecurity in and around the schools and infrastructure decay must be addressed.
The minister said there was also the need to have credible and reliable data, and to address the challenge of poor teacher quality as well as teacher gaps, low carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, and poor learning outcomes.
Meanwhile, the founder of Glorious Living Singles and Married Ministry, Pastor Judith Daniel-Imagoro, has lauded CAN for speaking out in favour of teaching CRK as a separate subject in schools.
During a Dynamic Life conference at Gombi, Adamawa State, Daniel-Imagoro called on Christians to always speak with one voice on critical issues in the polity.A statement quoted her as saying: “Christians at this point in our nation need to be constructive and stand for what is right without allowing anybody to impose anything on them.
“If God, our Creator, could leave us with the power of choice, no government, its agents or any group of people should force a whole nation to accept what is not right, which was what the government wanted to do.”
The cleric blamed the government for merging the two subjects instead of tackling the real challenges of the sector. “For the government to have left all the educational needs of Nigerians and tried to subsume CRK in civil education is clear indication that it is up to something. Their aim is to subtly deprive Nigerian students, among others, of the knowledge of God .There are so many schools without useable toilets. A lot of them have no qualified teachers.”