[Abuja]–The Federal Government has directed the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to separate the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge subjects in the basic education curriculum.
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, gave this directive at a meeting of Ministers of Education with education stakeholders from six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja on Thursday.
The meeting, which was attended by Commissioners for Education from various States of the Federation, was part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen the partnership within the three tiers of government in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG4).
Adamu, who was represented by Minister of State for Education, Anthony Anwukah, said the directive to separate the subjects became necessary because of the various complaints by Nigerians, especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that has been vociferous about the issue.
He explained that the collapse of the two subjects was done by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to reduce the number of subjects offered by pupils and students in schools.
The minister said: “There is this controversy over the merger of CRK and IRK in the school curriculum. There were complaints by parents that children were overloaded with so many subjects and the recommendation then was to merge one or two subjects. Unfortunately, water and oil were merged together and it is not working.
“So, to save ourselves the agony, the two subjects should be separated. We push that to the NERDC,”
In a report by The Nation, Adamu, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to revamping the education sector and appealed to state governments as well as relevant stakeholders to support the federal government effort.
He also expressed the commitment of the government towards achieving the SDG4 by 2030 in line with the global timeline.
The minister said Nigeria has selected the Goal 4 of the SDGs, which emphasizes inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning, for implementation in view of the importance of education as a fulcrum to national development.
He said the federal government was aware that in the journey towards achieving the Education 2030 Agenda, key issues including the phenomenon of out-of-school children, insecurity in and around the schools and infrastructure decay must be addressed.
The minister said there was also the need to have credible and reliable data, and how to address the challenge of poor teacher quality as well as teacher gaps, low carrying capacity in tertiary institutions, and poor learning outcomes.
“We recognize that the task of revamping the education sector is challenging, the ministry of education cannot do it alone. Our task is to coordinate national efforts to meet our national goals and objectives.
“It is our believe that with good planning, appropriate investment of resources, transparency, due process, effective collaboration and coordination of inputs and activities of government and that of all stakeholders, we will realize our vision of providing quality education to build and sustain adequate human capital for national development,” the minister added.
Recallthat the grouping of IRK and CRK under the Civil Education in the new curriculum by the NERDC had generated controversy in the last few months with religious leaders calling for their separate teaching.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has faulted the allegations by some retired military generals and Christian elders under the aegis of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) that Nigeria was being Islamised.
Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a statement made available to The Guardian described the allegation as false, baseless, deceptive, malicious and provocative.
Akintola, who expressed his displeasure about the recent wave of attacks by the Christian leaders said, “warnings against the ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria is now an old song and nobody is interested any longer”.
He also called the attention of the federal and state ministries of education to an alleged grand plot, where “Teachers of IRK are being cleverly diverted to teach other subjects.
“Senior officials in the Ministry of Education who are Christians are made to compromise their positions and neutralize teachers trained for IRK.
“Our claims are verifiable and we charge the Federal Ministry of Education in particular and the state ministries of education in the South West to launch an investigation into this.
“Many graduates of Islamic Studies who have been forcefully diverted to teach other subjects are ready to come forward.
“Those clamouring for restructuring have something interesting here,” Akintola said.Please Follow Us @ThePageNg