The Federal Government on Thursday bowed to pressure and 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 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.
Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, gave the 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,”
Adamu, in his address, 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.