The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) on Thursday condemned what it termed, Collapsing Christian Religious Knowledge, CRK, into a comprehensive subject called, Religion and National Values in the Secondary School’s education curriculum, by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), saying such affiliation is unacceptable.
It also said by denying the subject its age-long position as a single subject standing on its own has foreclosed the opportunity of the subject being studied at the tertiary institutions.
Rev. Felix Omobude, the National President, PFN, stated this at the end of its 2nd quarter, National Executive Council meeting held in Lagos at the Bishops Court, its National Headquarters.
The PFN leader also urged the government to ensure that Christian Religious Studies stands on its own as a separate subject as it has always been.
According to the Religious body, “The PFN is concerned at the controversy that has attended the revised Basic Education Curriculum, especially the collapse of Christian Religious Studies as part of an omnibus subject known as Religion and National Values.
“We noted the explanation by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) on some of the issues raised.
“There is really no justification for the uncertainty the NERDC has created which has opened up the implementation of the curriculum to the whims and caprices.
“Collapsing CRK as only a part of Religion and National Values forecloses the opportunity of the subject being studied at the tertiary level by students and is unacceptable,’’ he said.
Speaking on the compulsory study of foreign languages, the PFN appealed that windows be opened up to more languages beyond French and Arabic, to accommodate other languages.
“Windows of other languages should be open so our children can enjoy greater flexibility in foreign language study and not be compelled to study a language they have no interest in,’’ he said.
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) on Thursday urged the Federal Government to ensure there are no sacred cows in its fight against corruption in the country.
Rev. Felix Omobude, the National President, PFN, spoke at the end of its 2nd quarter, National Executive Council meeting held in Lagos at the Bishops Court, its National Headquarters.
The body, while commending the government for fighting corruption, urged it to be fair to all and to pursue the cause within the ambit of the laws of the land.
Omobude said there should be no “sacred cows or sacrificial lambs’’ in the fight.
He said the PFN was glad that some economic measures to revive the economy had been put in place.
“However, the PFN is still concerned about the hardship the ordinary Nigerian is facing.
“We are aware of the Social Intervention programmes, but we call for a more concerted efforts on the part of Federal Government to mitigate the pains and generate more employment opportunities, especially for the youth.
“We commend the efforts put into shoring up the naira in recent times, but we push for more concerted efforts in this regard.
“The government’s drive to promote patronage of locally produced goods is a commendable one.
“We urge Nigerians to fully embrace this initiative and consume what we produce locally,’’ Omobude said.
He commended the government’s effort in tackling the insurgency in the country, urging it not to relent in its efforts at ensuring the release of the remaining Chibok girls.
“PFN calls for more attention to be paid to the plight of the victims of the Southern Kaduna crisis.
“PFN is worried at developments in Southern Kaduna, especially the lack of prompt response to guarantee the security of lives and property there, leading to a loss of lives of many indigenes of that area.
“A delegation from the PFN recently paid a visitation to Southern Kaduna and made a presentation of N15 million worth of relief materials to the different groups, irrespective of ethnicity or religion.
“From this visit, we can see that there is much more that urgently needs to be done for the people of Southern Kaduna and urgently too.
“We call on the Federal government and Kaduna State Government to immediately improve on their rehabilitation efforts,’’ he said.
Recall that the Christian Religious Knowledge, CRK, and the Islamic Religious Knowledge, IRK, were merged into Religion and National Values under the secondary schools’ curriculum.
Such merger sparked off a tumultuous controversy in the country, especially from those who thought that CRK was entirely struck out of the curriculum as a subject of study.
Although the merger of these subjects occurred in 2013 when the proposal was approved by the National Council of Education and was implemented by schools in September, 2014, the outcry of well meaning Nigerians over the alleged removal of CRK from the curriculum, maintaining that its removal left students with the options of either studying French or IRK also raised speculations that the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Education, was trying to islamise Nigeria.
However, debunking the claims that the move wasn’t to sideline CRK, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, NERDC, Professor Ismail Junaidu, had said: “The Basic Education Curriculum which includes the CRK and IRK Curricula was approved in 2013 by the National Council on Education.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September, 2014 and neither CRK nor IRK was removed from the curriculum.
“In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Minister of Education sought and obtained the approval of the National Council on Education to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts.
Characteristics and distinctiveness
Rejecting government’s explanation, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) challenged government to publish full details of the new curriculum for Nigerians to see.
CAN President, Dr. Ayokunle Supo, had equally said: “In the new curriculum, IRK and CRK would no longer be studied as subjects on their own, but as themes in civic education. This undermines sound moral values that these two subjects had imparted on children which had made enhanced religious and ethnic co-existence without any tension.
“IRK was equally made available as a subject in another section without any corresponding availability of CRK. Is this not a divisive curriculum that could set the nation on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this nation?”
Views on the merger from some individuals in the country were equally sought for: For instance, while a parent, Mrs. Chioma Chibuzor-Anakor, said such merger is the handiwork of satan to ensure good moral values are not taught to Christian children in schools, a Senior Lecturer in Adeniran College of Education and a pastor, Mrs. Dele Giwa said the merger was an act of God to use knowledge in Islam to spread the gospel of peace, unity and the coming of Christ.
“The truth of the matter is that this issue is more spiritual than physical as Satan is trying to ensure that Jesus is not taught to the children in the schools. If we fold our hands, we would have a generation that wouldn’t have the opportunity to encounter Christ Jesus as school children,” said Mrs. Chioma Chibuzor-Anakor.
But Mrs. Dele Giwa said, “I see the present situation as an act of God especially as the Church, which ought to win souls for God has failed God. The Church ought to live communally, but today, pastors are very rich and the average citizen can’t send his or her wards to mission schools because of the high cost. Also, the Koran will convert the Muslims because everything they claim to fight for is not in the Koran but in the Hadith (like Acts of the Apostle in the Bible).”