The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), recently came up with a scheme that suggests the fusion of the Christian & Islamic religious studies into one subject to be known as Religion and National Values (RNV). Prior to this development, both religious studies were taught independently.
The idea to merge the two religious studies came from the Federal Ministry of Education’s plans to reduce the total number of subjects done by students. This is supposed to bring the department to the latest international standard in education. Both Christian & Islamic studies were merged in order to achieve that aim. Other subjects such as the Civic Education, Social Studies, and Security Education will equally be added to the proposed RNV.
Many have registered their worries on this idea. Some see it as a careless way of fueling up an age old religious rivalry. How are Christians supposed to memorize Islam texts and vice versa? Religion is so sensitive a subject that there needs to be caution in making such an adjustment. With the effects of the present day religious extremism, this idea might not exactly be a welcome development.
Since constitutionally there is right and freedom of worship in Nigeria, will this be an indirect infringement of those rights? Stepping up the educational system is a good thing but then at what expense? How are students supposed to understand and find agreement between the contradictions of the 2 major world religions as contained in their different Holy Books? Will this interfere in the religious background and foundation of these students? Schools have been burnt in the past because they “entertain the western religion”. What results will merging Christian & Islamic studies in schools yield Nigeria at this time?
Two reputable clerics of both religions in Nigeria – Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins – have out-rightly condemned this move. They urged the government to restore the Christian & Islamic studies to status quo and avoid “unnecessary conflicts”.
“We condemn the surreptitious moves to impose the preferred faith of some adherents on the rest, and call on those pushing this unholy and explosive agenda to think of the grave consequences they could pose to the unity and stability of Nigeria.” – Reports