[Analyses]–This article is about historical facts about the Basic education policy and to put stop to lies spreading in some quarters on the alleged Islamization of Nigeria because of the inclusion of Arabic language into the curriculum.
Every country all over the world tailor their education curriculum towards meeting both national and global needs as we know that the world is now a global village. And it is in order to meet these needs that the ministry of education or other government agency empowered to be in charge of education of a country review the education curriculum over certain years.
In order for Nigeria’s government to meet these needs, in 2008, the government changed its educational policy from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4, fusing both the primary and junior secondary school together and termed it the Basic Education. The 9-Year basic education curriculum was developed in response to Nigeria’s need for relevant, dynamic and globally competitive education that would ensure all leaners at the basic education level are capable to compete anywhere in the world in terms of knowledge, skills, techniques, critical thinking, entrepreneurship and life skills. It must also be stressed that the basic education was formulated in order for government to be able to attain Education for All (EFA) goals, the critical targets of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS) and the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the beginning of this 9-year basic education curriculum, the subjects offered ranged between ten and sixteen subjects and almost every subject stands alone. For example Basic Science, Basic Technology, Physical and Health education, Computer studies/ICT, Christian Religious studies/ Islamic Studies, Civic Education, Home Economics, Agricultural studies, Business studies were all separate subjects.
Later, the First batch of JSS students graduated in June 2011 after writing the Basic Education Certificate Curriculum (BEEC). In 2012, the National Education Research and Development Council(NERDC) went back to drawing board to review the success of the initial basic education Curriculum and to come out with the plans on how the curriculum can be improved in order to meet the targeted goals.
In 2014, among many reasons such as to make the curriculum more compacts, reduce the stresses that students undergo in taking more courses and to make parents spend less in procurement of text books and meeting the world standard of average of nine(9) subjects taken in basic education globally, the revised Basic Education comprises ten(10) subjects namely: English studies, mathematics, basic science and technology, religion and national values, cultural and creative arts, business studies, Nigerian languages, pre- vocational studies, French and Arabic.
In the new curriculum while French is a compulsory course because it is regarded as Nigeria’s second official language, Arabic language is optional and the students were expected to register for minimum of 8 subjects and maximum of 9 subjects, which means Christian or Muslim students are not even compelled to do Arabic language.
Though some people may be asking why the introduction of Arabic Language? As I mentioned in the introductory part that education must not only meet national goals but also meet international targets. A good and quality education is one that makes the receiver to be able to work successfully anywhere in the world. Arabic as a language is one of the six (6) official languages of the United Nations. Others include, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. I strongly believe it will be a plus to any Nigerian who learn to master three official languages (English, French, Arabic) of the United Nations official languages.
As a rebuttal to Apostle Suleiman and CAN (Christians Association of Nigeria) comments that the policy to merge religious studies and and civic studies together is a deliberate action by the federal government to relegate Christian studies to background and the islamization agenda of the federal government. The subjects under religion and National values include Christian studies /Islamic studies,social studies, civic education and security education.
From this, it can be seen that both Christian / Islamic studies were given the same recognition and as a matter fact this curriculum was implemented under President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian. Is CAN saying Good luck is part of the people that want to islamize Nigeria? Another question to ask now is why is CAN just talking now, after three years. The only conclusion one can make is either CAN is speaking out of emotion or out of sheer ignorance.
Furthermore, one can see how the so called Assembly of Christian bodies spread hatred and heat up the polity unnecessarily. Is it not amazing to note that in a time when people can access information within the twinkle of an eye, the people that are supposed to know better are still the one spreading unfounded lies? CAN can only be right in their own imagination of equating Islamic studies and Arabic language as the same because it is like saying Yoruba language and Yoruba tradition are the same thing.
Finally, I urge everybody most especially the youth to seek clarification before they also join these mischievous people in spreading lies from people they think are embodiment of all knowledge. We the youth are the present and future of this country and we must not allow ourselves to be used by anybody or group as tools to cause disunity. We must also know that the country belongs to everyone: Muslims, Christians and Traditionalists and for us to live peacefully,we must avoid unnecessary rivalry.
Olatunde Ismail Afolabi.