For the second time in two days, the Federal Government has denied that the Ministry of Education has delisted Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) from the curriculum of secondary schools.
After the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday in Abuja, which was chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, urged Nigerians to ignore the reports on the matter in a section of the print and social media because they were baseless.
At the FEC meeting, the cabinet resolved to convene an emergency retreat in Abuja within two weeks to address the falling standards and other knotty issues in the nation’s education sector.
Adamu listed the areas of crises in the sector as out-of-school children, inadequate use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), technical education, and training of teachers.
The minister said that he came to the FEC meeting with an education sector blueprint prepared by his ministry but that other ministers opted for the convening of an encompassing stakeholders’ retreat to resolve the issues.
He said the day’s FEC session deliberated the educational problems in the country and “members agreed that the falling standard in education is so serious that we will need a ministerial retreat to look at all the issues”.
Yesterday, the minister accused journalists of lying to the public and deceiving Christian leaders who are aggrieved over the allegation.
His words: “You (journalists) especially those of you on the social media are not helping this nation by bandying things that are absolutely false. One is the issue of Christian Religious Knowledge that all the national media, social media took up and deceived even the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) because they believed it.
“I read in the papers that they asked the Acting President to confirm it, but there is no truth in it at all. It was just somebody’s imagination; probably somebody who wishes to raise tension in the country after the Biafra issue and then the quit order given by some young people in the North.
“So, the person just followed suit in trying to stoke the embers of religion. There is no truth in it whatsoever, I repeat.
“Certainly, there was a policy in 2012 which was given effect in 2014 that is even before this government came in. One of the things I did as minister was to speak to the National Council on Education to disarticulate History from the Social Studies curricula because we believe we want our young people to know our history. You cannot know who you are without knowing who your ancestors were.
“And the National Council of Education did accept and agree that the teaching and learning of CRK has been made compulsory for all Christian students and teaching and learning of Islamic Studies is compulsory for all Muslim students.
“So, you are actually accusing the ministry of the opposite of what it has done. I think I just need to tell you that even if you are not the ones in the social media, they must be your compatriots; please tell them to be more responsible in handling the issues, especially at this time in our history,” he said.
Also in a statement, titled: “Situation of Christian Religious Knowledge, Islamic Studies and Civic Education at the Basic Education Level”, the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), said that the claims on the removal of CRS were not true.
NERDC is mandated to develop Curriculum for Basic and Senior Secondary Education levels.
In the statement signed by NERDC Executive Secretary, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, he said that the curricula passes through the next stages of planning, development, critique and editorial as well as the approval stages of the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCCE) both reference and plenary made up of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, directors in education, NGOs, CBOs, and international development partners.
The Basic Education Curriculum which includes the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curricula was approved in 2013 by the National Council on Education which is the apex policymaking body in education in Nigeria, made up of the 36 states’ Commissioners of Education and the FCT under the chairmanship of the Minister of Education.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September 2014. In both instances, neither the Christian Religious Knowledge nor Islamic Studies was removed from the curriculum. In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Minister of Education sought and obtained the approval of the National Council on Education to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christian 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.