This is the report by CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN ) delegates and NIGERIA CHRISTIAN GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP (NCGF) REPRESENTATIVES to the NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (NERDC)
The NERDC team was led by the Executive Secretary, Professor Ismail Junaidu in the company of five Directors of the Council including the Director of Book Publishing and Curriculum Development.
The paper presented was by Prof. Charles Adisa and Prof. Funmi Adesanya-Davies. The Delegation was led by Dr. Sam Itina, National President of the NCGF and other members of the delegation were:
1. Prof . A Adisa (NCGF)
2. Dr. Mrs Ejiro Iwuoha (NCGF)
3. Pst. Onyenachi Nwaegeruo(NCGF)
4. Dr. Josiah Kantiyok (NCGF)
1. Bishop Jude Arogundade (Catholic Church) (CAN) - (ABSENT)
2. Prof. Bishop Funmi Adesanya-Davies (Protestant Church) (CAN)
3. Dr. Mrs. Ofoegbu(Catholic Church) (CAN)
4. Rev. Fr. Patrick Balogun (Catholic Church) (CAN)
TEAM KEY POINTS PRESENTED AT NERDC WERE:
Following a brief introduction of the NCGF and CAN, obvious lapses in the new curriculum which included the list below were presented:
- Inciting/Derogatory statements which attack the foundation of Christianity. For example, that Jesus was not the Son of God, Jesus was not crucified and did not resurrect and the supremacy of Quran over the Holy Bible, supremacy of Muhammad over Jesus Christ, etc.
- Textbooks in print that combine Islamic Religious Knowledge and Christian Religious knowledge in a single textbook thus exposing children to other religion which negates the principles of our constitution.
- Absence of approved list of textbooks as an appendix in the curriculum/ NERDC website
- Watered down content of the various subjects, as a result, creating an omnibus textbook.
- Making religious studies compulsory without the adequate provision of Teachers in those subjects. The implications are that a Christian student in the core north will be forced to take IRK and ditto a Muslim student in the South. In addition, a student that refuses to take the subject as a result of conflict with his/her religion is short changed of marks for that compulsory subject and may have his educational career truncated.
- Absence of subjects like History, Geography and Economics in the new curriculum.
FACTS AND FINDINGS AT NERDC
1. That the five (5) subjects: Religious Studies (CRS/IRS), Civic Education, Social Studies and Security are combined under one umbrella in the Curriculum is sacrosanct.
2. NERDC asserts that CAN was part and parcel of the stakeholders invited to air her views and input on the development of the New Curriculum. However the NGGF has never been invited and represented and are welcome from now on.
3. It was acknowledged that the Curriculum on Religion and National Values needs to be reviewed as the Christians and Muslims are of the same viewpoints that the New Curriculum is unacceptable.
4. Curriculum for Religion and National Value is assuredly for the three Basics (Lower, Middle and Upper) of the BEC 9-year Program.
i.e 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9. (Thus, there are 3 curriculum booklets)
5. That the design was that Text books for CRS and IRS are to be separated by Publishers as different Text books but they are written together in the same Curriculum Booklet with Civic Education, Social Studies and Security.
6. That the status of the Subject Religious Studies is Compulsory is sacrosanct and a pupil must offer either but not both.
7. That NO Publisher's Textbook has been approved by NERDC yet. So ALL BOOKS in the market for now are FAKE and fictitious and should be checkmated immediately.
8. That CAN could bring professionals to Review the Content of the said present Curriculum under assessment - (I volunteered to do the review
with Prof. Charles Adisa and it was approved.)
9. That CAN could participate fully in the production and review of yet to
be accepted /approved Textbooks - I also volunteered.
10. That they will endeavour to list out the finally approved books right
in the Curriculum and we can make recommendations.
11. The Executive Secretary approved the team as partners in progress from hence.
12. All participants we well pleased at the end of the discussions.
RESPONSE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
• NERDC will be willing to collaborate with groups like the NCGF (based on their educational endowments)
• Religious study is compulsory so as to provide a moral framework for adherence to the teachings of civic education, social studies and security education.
• He disowned the publishers and the books currently in the market but WAS UNABLE TO GIVE US THE NAME OF ANY APPROVED TEXTBOOK MEANT FOR THE SUBJECT- AFTER 8 YEARS OF PUBLICATION OF THIS NEW CURRICULUM.
• He accepted the recommendation of listing the approved books in the appendix of the curriculum as well as on their website
• NERDC will not be able to exercise oversight function on what the schools are using, rather schools should verify from NERDC, the books that have been approved
• NERDC is in the process of achieving a regulatory statue like NAFDAC to enable them prosecute publishers that are in deviance of the standard and principles of the curriculum
• Accepted the need for further public hearing, sensitization and review of the new curriculum.
• He insisted that it is the responsibility of government at various levels to provide Teachers for the subjects, and where this is not observed, parents should sue the government and demand for the requisite teachers.
• Publishers should be supervised so that the textbooks in print are a reflection of the principles and standard of the curriculum.
• List of recommended textbooks should be incorporated as an appendix in the curriculum. In addition, these lists should be freely available on the NERDC website.
• Curriculum developers should ensure that the content conforms with the curriculum and our constitutional provision.
• Curriculum developers should be conscious of the religious and cultural sensibility of Nigerians.
Now that all the cards are on the table, as a minister and a professional who had lectured and still lectures in a University of Education in the past thirty years, I wish to recommendation as follows:
1.ChristianRK Curriculum and IslamicRS should stand alone, as individual subjects on subject listing as it was before.
2. Civic Education, Social Studies and Security should be combined under one umbrella in the Curriculum as a subject i.e.
3. ChristianRK Curriculum and IslamiRS should be made compulsory, only for the religion adherent.
4. NERDC should produce separate curriculum booklets of IRS and CRS as it was before, statuesque ante, as it is done with the Teachers manual.
5.Christian RK Curriculum must be reviewed immediately with inputs from our old CRK Curriculum in the 3 BEC of the 9-years.
6. Islamic RK should be reviewed by editing off all grievously offensive phrases/frivolous expressions about Christianity in the 3 Basics Education Curriculum because the material is in the public domain and we Christians said nothing about Islam which existed 600 AD after the death of Christ in our curriculum.
7. Correction to the Curriculum and the Implementation of the Text Books must conform with the Constitution, National Policy on Education, as well as the Cultural, Social and Religious Values of the Republic
8. All publishers of the FAKE Books should be written for discussions, that the dissemination of the Books must stop immediately. The Church should seek court injunction immediately to enforce this.
9. We need to work with such and some other publishers to peacefully resolve the issue if they so desire and to ensure that their reviewed books on CRS would be acceptable to us.
10. NERDC should be advised to always produce separate textbooks for ChristianRK Curriculum and IslamicRS and supervise their publishers to ensure the books are produced separately
12. CAN and NCGF should urgently set up a committee to review the content of the present CRS to reflect the true teachings of Christianity as the current curriculum is inferior to the previous curriculum.
13. It is necessary to adequately mobilize and sensitize the churches to pray about the challenges posed by this curriculum to our faith.
14. If the recommendations are not acceptable and implemented by NERDC, CAN and NCGF should consider other actions and litigation.
1. We recommend separation of the two (2) Curriculum in same booklet for the three (3) Primary Basics: If they refuse the separation in the Curriculum as in the text; just like Christian children, Muslim children would also have access to the Christian curriculum and this could be evangelical as light is not afraid of darkness.
2. CRS/IRS OPTIONAL/ COMPULSORY: Making CRS/IRS a Compulsory Subject is advantageous, but it must be separately compulsory as the religion of the pupil, parent or guardian that is Christians must offer CRK and Muslims IRS. We should remember it was also compulsory in the Old Curriculum.
On behalf of the team, I hereby express our gratitude to CAN for affording us this rare opportunity to serve in our Lord's Vineyard.
Our God reigns! Jesus is Lord!! Praise the Lord!!! Amen.
Amb. (Bishop Prof.) Mercy Funmi Adesanya-Davies