West & Central Africa

Nigerian Christians protest against “obnoxious” curriculum that undermines their faith

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, this week condemned the federal government’s attempt to undermine Christianity in Nigerian schools by introducing a curriculum that has made Islamic religious studies in schools mandatory while relegating Christian religious studies.

The President of the Association, the Rev Samson Olasupo A Ayokunle, met with the acting president Yemi Osinbajo on 14 July to protest the “obnoxious, divisive and ungodly secondary school curriculum.”

The Christian umbrella group said, “Christians are… on the receiving side” of the “divisive and ungodly secondary school curriculum that the Federal Ministry of Education is introducing into our schools.”
The Christian association said the Federal Ministry of Education had introduced the curriculum without consultation. He said: “Two decades ago when our education planners started removing the teaching of religious values through the cancellation of morning devotion in schools that all this violence by youths in different forms came on board.”

CAN said that the new curriculum downgraded religious studies to “themes in a civic eduation” which “negates any form of effective, sound moral discipline and upbringing”.

The Christian body said, “We demand a complete withdrawal and ban of this curriculum. If allowed to be implemented, it would lead us to a godless  nation with violence and all forms of ungodliness as the order of the day.”

Another problem, CAN pointed out, with the secondary school curriculum, is that the curriculum deliberately undermined Christianity when it “went ahead to introduce Islamic  Arabic Studies in another section, together with French, and made one of the two compulsory for the student… Christian students would have no choice than to study Arabic… where the student is tactically forced into studying it because the alternative subject (French) does not have teachers to teach it, it is a great problem tending to Islamization,” said the Rev Ayokunle.

The question of fairness to the Christian community, CAN claimed, was illustrated by the example of a Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State who was beaten with the cane by the Arabic teacher because he refused to do Arabic Studies when the French teacher was not available. Furthermore, they argued, Christian religious studies of Hebrew and Greek were not part of the options at all.

The Christian association warned that if Nigeria were to remain a united entity, “there must be fair play, mutual respect for one another and justice which can be brought about by different arms of government. “Rev Ayokunle said.

The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Crescent Schools, 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos, has written a protest letter to the Minister of Education regarding criticising the new curriculum which it said was indecent and immoral.

Aliyu Gudaji, the PTA Chairman, requested the withdrawal of the curriculum in a letter to the Minister of Education.