The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has advised Nigerians to remain calm over the new nine-year Basic Education Curriculum that had stirred controversy among religious bodies.
While receiving a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Wednesday, said the process began in 2010 with the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan establishing series of reforms.
According to him, “This is with a view to reduce the number of subjects in school curriculum.As leaders, we must continue to seek and find solutions to problems. You will remember that in 2010, the past administration came up with reforms on how to reduce the number of subjects at the basic education level.
He added further that, “There were about 20 subjects at that time, and subsequently they were reduced to 12. In the process of implementing those reforms, we have this problem. Why I am saying this is so we don’t leave here and believe that it was done to favour one religion over the other.”
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Saraki hence assured that the Senate Committee on Basic Education would investigate the complaints made by the association on the curriculum, to ensure it is acceptable and satisfactory to all religions.
“Now the reform is clearly not working. So our responsibility is to look into that reform and make it work. I am sure that there was no intention to make one group feel disadvantaged with this new school curriculum. This is why this Senate will direct our Committee on Education to look at the reform and find out why it is not working with the relevant stakeholders”.
According to NAN, the leader of the delegation, Charles Adisa, had earlier advocated the intervention of the National Assembly to ensure genuine respect for Nigeria’s Constitution.
Representing the CAN national president, Samson Ayokunle,Adisa said: “We also call for the abolition of obnoxious laws that infringe on freedom of worship.”
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He disclosed that CAN wanted Islamic Religious Knowledge and Christian Religious Knowledge to be offered separately, while Social Studies and Civic Education should be merged.
Mr. Adisa called for the employment of more teachers for religious subjects by the federal and state ministries of education, as “This will allow students to opt for religious studies of their choice in all public schools in Nigeria”.
Mr. Adisa emphasised that the Constitution was supreme over any other consideration, saying that Chapter 1 of the Constitution states the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, including freedom of religion.