The answer is no. Was Buhari or the current APC Administration responsible for the new curriculum? No. Are Christian students forced, through the new process, to study Arabic? No. It is good that we tell the true stories of events so that we don’t create an angrier and more divided populace in the already tensed system. There is a news going around that Christian Religious Knowledge, C.R.K, was removed from the Nigerian Educational Curriculum while the IRS, Islamic Religious Studies, was left untouched.
This story is not true and I’d try my best to give you the true account of the story. I think the problem stems from the poor awareness that precede it and the introduction of Arabic as alternative to students who choose not to study French. While this could be argued logically, that besides English and French, Arabic is the next popular language among Africans, it is not shocking to see a disagreement to its inclusion considering the way we’ve handled Religion in Nigeria.
When CAN, Christian of Association of Nigeria, released the statement:
“This curriculum is the brain-child of Nigerian Educational Research Council, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Education. To us in CAN, its introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons…”
it showed a lack of consultation on the part of the Ministry of Education considering the delicacy of religion in this country and ignorance on their part. Religion is delicate in Nigeria and to avoid misinformation the ministry of education and the NOA, National Orientation Agency, ought to have done some awareness.
These are the facts:
The System was passed in Goodluck Jonathan’s Adminstration and not the current Administration of Muhammadu Buhari. Ask any child in secondary school, s/he will tell you they’ve been studying C.R.K also known C.R.S for over 12 months. The line that it is a new introduction, or the dust it is raising is either the work of mischief makers or part of ways to express our grievances towards the current governments handling of some delicate issues. President Buhari, his government or his ministers, did not introduce this new curriculum creating tensions and these insults and backlash are uncalled for.
It was signed and approved in 2015 towards the end of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and was announced by Ismail Junaidu, the Executive Secretary of NERC, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, an agency of the Ministry of Education. It was not drafted or signed by President Muhammadu Buhari or members of his administration. It was designed to help improve the standard of our education.
What Happened To C.R.K AKA C.R.S If it wasn’t Removed?
According to the ministry, there was need to shrink subjects to meet the best standards obtained internationally, so they created a new subject, RNV, Religion and National Values, where five subjects Christian Religious Knowledge (C.R.K), Islamic Religious Studies (IRS), Civic Education, Social Studies, and Security Education were moved to. You can see that even I.R.S., Islamic Religious Studies was also affected in the new curriculum. It wasn’t like C.R.S was moved into RVN while I.R S was left alone to enjoy special status.
C.R.S was to be taught separately to Christian students. I.R.S still attended the needs of Muslim students like it did in the past. Social Studies was still taught to students to understand peoples of the world and the environment. Civic Education handled the subject of national pride, citizens right and proper behaviour. Security Education also included in RVN taught students security measures and how to handle threats. It was inspired by the Boko Harm attacks.
What Else Was Included In The Curriculum?
Arabic. The Arabic Language was included in the new curriculum that was signed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan. This language is also optional. You can go for French or you choose Arabic. Arabic is in the list of five most spoken languages in Africa. While this is logical, this is Nigeria. I understand their fears. In this country, some see Arabic as divine and ordained language of God. They’ve treated it with reverence. Those on the opposite side have not failed to hold unto these views when they access the Arabic language. They imagine the religion of the teachers and how their kids could be indoctrinated and sold another religion. This is a legitimate fear. But it is optional. No one is forced to study the language.
Most of the comments by Nigerians and even men with influence have been ignorant. Before you criticise, endeavour to understand. Criticism ought to come from understanding. Even if your fear is legitimate, you don’t use false stories to express them. You can point, like some others have done, your discomfort with the Arabic language included. But you should never sell fake stories or add your voice to them because you already have a bias against certain people. C.R.K was not removed from our educational curriculum. No child is forced to study I.R.S or the newly introduced Arabic Language. President Buhari or his ministers have no hand in drafting, passing or signing the new curriculum. These are the facts.