- Retains Christian, Islamic studies in new curriculum
The Federal Government of Nigeria has introduced security education in its latest curriculum for primary and secondary schools as part of its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts involving its citizens.
This is coming as the government clarified that the Christian and Islamic religious studies are still retained in the new secondary school curriculum but as a subsets of Religion and National Values (RNV).
The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, on Tuesday said that the security subject together with the religious and civic education is under the RNV Curriculum.
Ihuoma said that security is grouped only as part of the subjects that are aimed at inculcating moral, ethical, social and national values in learners”.
The ministry’s spokesperson while recognising that there were changes in the characteristics of the revised 9-Year Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), said that the sub-themes are still recognised as Christian Religious Studies (CRS) and Islamic Religious Studies (IRS).
She listed the composition of the 9-year BEC discrete subjects under RNV to include: CRS, IRS, Social Studies, Civil Education, and Security Education.
Ihuoma said the new curriculum “are geared towards learning outcomes that would affect behavior change to bring about value reorientation and the needed positive social reengineering in Nigeria”.
She said: “The Religious Studies and other components of the Religion and Nation Values Curriculum under Basic Education are distinct. They are subject listed under one group that should be taught and studies separately based on existing school time table.
“At this juncture the Council reiterates emphatically to Curriculum implementers, desk officers, educational inspectorates, publishers, public and other end users that the Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies are distinct subject that must be taught and studied separately in schools.”
She also stressed that “no child should be coerced or compelled to learn or taught any religious studies curriculum in school but only one out of the two that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his /her parents”.
Speaking further, Ihuoma said “the alternation is not from the minister but 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.”
She however admitted not to have seen the details of the latest changes, but noted that in a case where one has subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.
NERDC: CRS was never scrapped out of secondary school curriculum
The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), has said that contrary to reports making round the media, the Christian Religious Studies (CRS) was never scrapped from the Secondary School Curriculum.
The Executive Secretary of NERDC, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, said that the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), which includes the Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) and Islamic Studies Curricula approved in 2013 by the National Council on Education (NCE).
According Junaidu, NCE is the apex policy making body in education in Nigeria, made up of all the 36 States Commissioners of Education and the FCT under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Education.
For the avoidance of doubt, he said, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September, 2014.
He said: ” In both instances, neither the Christian Religious Knowledge nor Islamic
“Studies were removed from the curriculum. In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Hon. Minister of Education sought and obtained the approval of the National Council on Education to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts.
“The claims peddled on social media platforms and a national daily are to say the least speculative, false and unfounded. Specifically as regards the Religion and National Values Curriculum.”
Junaidu debunked the claims are that: Christian Religious Knowledge is no longer existing in school but it is a theme in Civic Education; Islamic Arabic Studies/French subjects have been introduced in the new curriculum; and that a pupil/student will study either Islamic Arabic studies or French; and that Christian students, based on these claims will be left with no option than to study Islamic Arabic Studies since French teachers are more or less non-existent in schools
He said: “It is obvious after perusing these claims, that while some of the peddlers operate from the oblivious side of information, many resort.to this out of mischief needless of being extended into the critical sector of education.
“The Management of NERDC hereby reiterates categorically and unequivocally to all Nigerians that the subject offerings (Civic Education, Social Studies, Christian Religious Knowledge, Islamic Studies and Security Education) under the Religion and National Values Curriculum are distinct, as listed and taught separately on the time table.”
“In this Curriculum, no child should be coerced or compelled to learn or be taught in school any religious studies subject but only one (out of the two) that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his/her parents.
“Teachers had been trained in the six Geopolitical Zones to be able to teach these distinct subjects. They are well aware of the mode of teaching the Religion and National Values Curriculum as distinct
subjects on the time table.”
In view of the claims therefore, Junaidu said, NERDC hereby states that: CRK is still taught in schools; as a separate distinct subject with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide; CRK is not a theme in Civic Education; Civic Education is a distinct subject on its own which teaches the rudiments of good citizenship; there is no subject in the Nigerian School Curriculum called Islamic Arabic Studies nor anywhere in the world as being speculated
He also noted that French is a compulsory subject from Primary 4 as dictated by the National Policy on Education Section 2 sub-section 23.7p 13; and that efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.
The Executive Secretary noted that as a Regional Centre of Curriculum Excellence, NERDC are very receptive to good suggestions from all critical stakeholders especially ideas that are policy driven and within the scope of our mandate.
He said their response was in appreciation of the organizations, institutions and individuals that considered it wise to contact them on the matter.
According to him, NERDC stands for integrity and excellence in educational research and
development, as well as education for human dignity, economic reconstruction and value reorientation.