House of Reps keeps religious subject independent
Members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly agreed that religious liberties had to be protected.
Members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly agreed that to protect religious liberties as provided by the 1999 Constitution (as amended), religious subjects of choice should be taught separately to students in schools.
Presiding officer of the House and Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun ruled that the Federal Ministry of Education should teach both Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and CRK as separate subjects, and make Civic Education a compulsory subject for students.
The motion, titled "Call to make Civic Education an optional instead of a compulsory subject for Senior Certificate Examination" was filed by Hon. Beni Lar (Plateau).
Lar said, "Under the previous Secondary School Curriculum which brought a lot of discontentment, Civic Education was not a compulsory subject and religious education was taught as Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK), both of which were optional subjects.
"The Federal Ministry of Education introduced a revised curriculum without due consultation with parents and stakeholders and the new nine-year Basic Education Curriculum on Religion and National Values Consolidated Religious Education and Civic Education under National Values and made Civic Education a compulsory subject for Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations."
He continued, "The curriculum for primary one to three, which is the formative stage of a child does not provide for adequate teaching of the religious beliefs of the people but rather destructive half-truths which destroy the fundamental beliefs and erodes the essence of such religion being taught the children."
The lawmaker argued his position with the constitution, saying, "Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution makes Nigeria a secular state and, therefore, Religion should be separated from national values."
The merger of CRK and IRK into Religion and National Values under the curriculum occurred in 2013 when the proposal was approved by the National Council of Education and was implemented by schools in 2014.
The alleged removal of CRK has been the subject of debate by several groups like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) who claim it is an attempt to Islamise the country.
They demanded that the government returns the Basic Education Curriculum to its original state with CRK as a stand-alone subject.
In response to the outrage, Prof. Ismail Junaidu, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) maintained that CRK has not been removed.
He said, "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.
"The subjects are as listed and taught separately on the timetable.
"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."
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