The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) to publish the full details of the controversial new Curriculum of Education accusing them of distorting the facts concerning the “removal of Christian Religious Knowledge from the new curriculum.”‎

Speaking through its president, Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle, the umbrella body of all Christians in the country said: “...In this curriculum, Islamic and Christian Religious Studies will no longer be studied in schools as subjects on their own but as themes in a civic education. This undermines the sound moral values that these two subjects had imparted in the past to our children which had made us to religiously and ethnically co-exist without any tension.

“...Islamic Religious Knowledge was equally made available as a subject in another section without any corresponding availability of Christian Religious Knowledge. Is this not a divisive curriculum that can set the nation on fire? Is this fair to millions of Christians in this nation?”

To buttress his point, the CAN President cited a case in Kwara State where a student was punished for refusing to register for Islamic Religious Knowledge.

“A Christian student in a secondary school in Kwara State had his body lacerated with cane by the Arabic Teacher because the pupil refused to do Islamic Religious Knowledge when French Teacher was not available and Christian Religious Knowledge, Hebrew or Greek were not part of the options at all.”

The Federal Ministry of Education had debunked the claims that Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) had been removed as a subject of study from the secondary school curriculum and Islamic Religious Studies reintroduced.

The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chinenye Ihuoma, said the ministry has only designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.

But the CAN said Ihuoma’s words, “to say the least, confirmed our fears when she stated that the ministry has designed a new subject which merged Civic Education, IRS, CRK and Social Studies into “Religion and National Values”.

“The alternation is not from the minister, this is purely from the National Council on Education. It is just as the council has said that History should be a subject of its own at the basic level in the first nine years.

“Now, a new subject has been introduced, called Religion and National Values. It is a fusion of religion and civics,” she was quoted to have said.

Surprisingly, she admitted “I have not seen the details but in a case where you have subject combinations in the same period, everyone will attend lectures that correspond with their own religion.”

“Arabic and Islamic Studies are not standing alone. Islamic Religious Study and Christian Religious Study as well as national values will be taught under a new subject,’’ she said.

In his own reaction, the Executive Secretary of NERDC, Professor Ismail Junaidu who also faulted our position, contradicted the position of the Ministry but his defence too is full of loopholes.

According to him, “NERDC hereby states that: CRK is still taught in schools; as a separate distinct subject with the accompanying Teachers’ Guide.

That “CRK is not a theme in Civic Education. Civic Education is a distinct subject on its own which teaches the rudiments of good citizenship”.

This position contradicts that of the Ministry. He went further to disclose a directive given by the Minister on the merger which the ministry under his watch claims has not been implemented.

His words, “For the avoidance of doubt, the last review of the curriculum was approved in 2013 and implementation commenced in September, 2014. In both instances, neither the Christian Religious Knowledge nor Islamic Studies was removed from the curriculum.

“In fact, at the commencement of the present administration, the Hon. 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.

“Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“In this Curriculum, no child should be coerced or compelled to learn or be taught in school any religious studies subject  but only one (out of the two) that restrictively relates to the belief system professed by the child and his/her parents.”

If the two religions were different subjects in the new curriculum, why did the Minister has to seek the approval of the agency “to make Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for all Christians students and Islamic Studies compulsory for their Muslim counterparts”?

The CAN went on to note: “Again, if the two religious studies are being taught separately, why is the agency stating that “Efforts are in top gear to print the Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Studies Curriculum separately in order to maintain their characteristics and distinctiveness.

“These statements underscore our position that the subjects were merged before! Do we need to run away from underscoring the importance of these two subjects which focus on teaching the fear of God, love for others and so on at a time like when our nation is facing the challenge of violence and breakup?

“If the new curriculum is treating the two religious subjects separately as being claimed, why do we have a satanic topic in the Civic Education like 'IS JESUS THE SON OF GOD'? Or is the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo who disclosed to CAN leadership that this was in the curriculum he earlier saw lying too?

“The agency claims no student will be forced to register for a religion against his/her wish.

“That is not true. In Kwara State, for example, the discriminatory curriculum has begun and Christian students who refused to register for it already had their bodies lacerated with cane! We have the names of the victims and their schools with us, including the text message from the parents of such students who were beaten.

“Not only that, in the forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) 2017 TIME TABLE, which runs from Tuesday, 4th July, 2017 to Thursday, 13 Julyin Kwara State, there is no CRK as subject to be sat for. Any reason for this? Instead, on the 13th July, 2017, it has the following; KW/BECE/ 203 Arabic CAIS, KW/BECE/204 IRK JIS; KW/BECE/407 ARABIC JIS and KW/BECE/205 Islamic History. Source: www.kwaraeducation.com”

The body further noted in the statement signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant, Media & Communications to the CAN President that “the chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Delta State has also called to complain that students are calling him to say that their teachers are saying that they will no longer be doing CRK as a subject again. Who is deceiving whom?

“As far as CAN is concerned, the curriculum is a time-bomb, obnoxious, divisive and ungodly and its implementation must be stopped until all the grey areas are addressed. Like we told the Acting President, its introduction is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good for so many reasons.

“If we are going to do pilgrimage together as a nation, there must be fair play, mutual respect for one another and justice which can be brought about by different arms of government. We demand for justice from the government on this matter very quickly.

We request for a return to the curriculum we were using before this dangerous one which did not produce insurgents or a wrongly indoctrinated Nigerians. It was the students that came from a school system where morning devotion was removed that are behind the insurgency and kidnappings that are happening now and then.

“Those of us who passed through the former system where we all did devotion in the morning and in the afternoon at closing in our schools lived together peacefully irrespective of our religions. The government must stop the operation of this new curriculum. It did not come out of a forward looking research but a backward one. A stitch in time saves nine.

“We caution the Federal Government against the use of propaganda in addressing this sensitive issue because the unity of the country is at stake. We are not crying wolves where none exists.

“We are disappointed hearing the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu claiming that CAN was believing a piece of misinformation received from the social media.

“To say the least, that is a misleading statement from a Minister who is not only trying to Islamise the ministry with all the appointments he has made but denying the reality of discrimination policy under his watch.

“We counsel Adamu to reconcile his position with the spokesperson of his ministry who agreed that both CRK, IRK and Civic Education had been merged to become one subject before denying the reality.”
OUR DEMANDS

1. The implementation of the curriculum must be suspended till a workshop is organized where all the stakeholders must be well represented.

2. The Presidency should direct the Federal Ministry of Education to publish the full details of the curriculum on its website to enable everyone know what it contains.

3. There was nothing wrong with the old curriculum on Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies. What people are yearning for is a return to Civic Education and History for obvious reasons as distinct subjects.

4. That the heads of the parastatals and agencies in the Federal Ministry of Education should be overhauled with a view to balancing the religious dichotomy. A situation where 13 of their heads are Muslims while the remaining four are Christians is an ill-wind that would blow no one any good.

5. We urge the Presidency to call for a meeting of all stake holders to look at this curriculum line by line and for all of us to own it together before implementation.

If our call is taken as for granted and nothing is done quickly about this curriculum, we may be tempted to take further action on this curriculum.

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has urged GCE candidates to endeavour to collect their certificates within four years of writing the examination as any delay beyond that will attract custody fee.

Demianus Ojijeogu, the Head of Public Affairs Department, WAEC, Nigeria disclosed this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates, commonly referred to as WAEC GCE, is usually taken in November/December every year.

Mr. Ojijeogu said: “the normal charge for the certificate is N3, 500 and only payable by those whose certificates were issued between zero and four years.

“But from five to nine years is N8, 500; 10 to 14 years N13, 500; 15 to 19 years N18, 500 while 20 years and above will be charged N23, 500.

“These charges are (for) custody fee; for keeping the certificates for so long because it occupies space in our office. It will also serve as a deterrent to others.

“I don’t know the reason why people will sit for exams and their certificates are ready yet they will not come for collection. What was the essence of the certificate in the first place?’’

He also said that requirements for collection of the GCE certificates within Nigeria were an application letter, sworn affidavit from the High Court, online result print- out, one passport-size photograph, photo card and identity card.

Prof. Lenrie Aina, the National Librarian, says that Nigeria is not rated among the most reading countries in the world.

Aina, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, National Library of Nigeria, said this in Enugu on Wednesday at the Readership Promotion Campaign (RPC).

He said that a recent study on the most reading countries in the world showed that Nigeria was not mentioned in the ranking while Egypt and South Africa were among the first 30 countries rated.

“Leading world nations pride themselves on their promotion of reading.

“They see a high level of literacy as a major source of their competitiveness and social maturity.

“The absence of a widespread culture of reading in the case of Nigeria acts as an effective barrier to our development and international competitiveness,’’ she said.

Aina said that it was against the background that the National Library embarked on an intensive readership promotion campaign across the country to encourage reading among Nigerians as well as to identify obstacles inhibiting reading and proffer solutions.

He appealed to teachers to encourage pupils and students to read and urged parents to make books available to their children.

In a message to the event, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State said that his administration was doing everything possible to promote reading culture in schools.

Ugwuanyi, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Uchenna Ezeh, said that the government had reintroduced reading clubs in secondary schools while renovating schools and providing instructional materials.

“We are in a knowledge propelled economy and through reading, you gain information about your environment.’’

The governor pledged to partner with groups that would promote reading culture in the state.

Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Frank Ndubuisi, decried the deplorable condition of many libraries across the country and called for government’s urgent attention.

While commending the National Library for reviving the campaign, Ndubuisi, an Educationist, also advocated for the introduction of e-library that would stand the test of time.

Other speakers at the event, including an octogenarian writer, Dr Rose Chukwuemeka-Ike, and the President, Coal City Literary Forum, Dr Adaobi Nwoye, also emphasised the need to promote a reading culture among youths.

According to Ike, reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

The event featured reading competition and spelling bees by some secondary schools in the state.

(NAN)

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has fixed Saturday, July 1 to conduct supplementary Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, for 85,000 candidates.

The board’s Head, Media and Information, Fabian Benjamin, announced the date in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to him, the examination, which is for candidates who registered late and those with related issues, will be spread across some Computer Based Testing (CBT) centres.

“Following an enlarged management meeting of the JAMB, the supplementary 2017 UTME has been fixed to hold on Saturday, July 1.

“No fewer than 85,000 candidates are scheduled to write the examination.

“Affected candidates have been notified through text messages.

“By this notice, they are advised to check their e-mail and profile for the schedule of their examination or visit the board’s website for their status,’’ Mr. Benjamin said.

According to him, candidates will soon be requested to print their e-slip for details such as date, venue and time of the examination.

The board noted that candidates, who are not listed for the supplementary, would not be communicated with; while those, whose results are withheld, would reflect in their profiles, which have been updated.

The board also advised rescheduled candidates to comport themselves and be of good behaviour to avoid the circumstance that earlier necessitated the cancellation of their previous examination.

“Many of the candidates rescheduled for this examination enjoy this privilege because of the board’s principles of equality and inclusiveness.

“It is better to let 100 offenders go free than to punish one innocent person.

“The board will enhance its monitoring of the examination as it would not compromise its sanctity.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that 1.7 million candidates registered for the 2017 UTME in 633 centres across the country.

The examination was conducted from May 13 to May 20 but the board cancelled the results of more than 50,000 candidates.

It also delisted 48 Computer Based Testing centres over what was described as huge and organised malpractices.

(NAN)

The Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo State, has warned lecturers in the institution against awarding marks to students for money or sex.

Acting Rector of the institution, Sanusi Jimah, who issued the warning on Monday, said that any lecturer caught will be dealt with appropriately.

“The management of Auchi poly will deal with corrupt lecturers who are fond of extorting money from students in order to award marks, Mr Jimah said when he received executive members of the polytechnic’s Alumni Association.

“The management is keeping an eye on corrupt lecturers in the school and anyone caught would not be allowed to mark their scripts for the ongoing examination, if any case is registered against them.’’

The rector said that corruption would no longer be tolerated and vowed to fish out those who trade marks for sex and money which painted the institution in bad light.

Speaking earlier, the national president of the alumni association, Victor Okhaimo, pledged continued collaboration with the institution in the area of infrastructure and human capital development.

The association further drummed its support for the acting rector to reposition the institution.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has blacklisted 48 Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres over their involvement in extortion and organised examination malpractices during the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

JAMB’s Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja at a news conference at the end of an enlarged meeting with external examiners and other stakeholders in the conduct of the 2017 UTME.

Oloyede, who also announced the cancellation of the results of 59,698 candidates who sat for the examination, said another 24 CBT centres had been suspended for one year for failing to live up to expectations.

“The (24 CBT) centres will not participate in the 2018 UTME, but they can be reconsidered for 2019 and above.

"The delisting of 48 centres from participating in the board’s examination in future is as a result of serious technical deficiencies, extortion, organised examination malpractices and other damaging infractions.”

He said that JAMB had fixed July 1, 2017 as the date for supplementary examination for candidates who registered late for this year’s UTME.

Oloyede added that some of the candidates whose results were cancelled, would also take part in the rescheduled exam.

The JAMB boss said the decision to allow the candidates sit for the rescheduled examination was reached after a thorough review of all the reports that emanated from their centres.

According to him, 1,386 candidates have their results cancelled over examination malpractice; 57,646 results were also affected as a result of centres-induced malpractices while the results of 666 candidates were cancelled due to multiple examinations.

He listed the categories of candidates whose results were cancelled but would take part in the rescheduled examination to include candidates of centres with mass malpractices but who are deemed innocent and candidates with biometric non-verification machine related issues.

Others include technical and log out issues, late registration, incomplete results and candidates who lost examination sessions due to malfunctioning of servers at the affected centre.

Auchi community has begun the process for the establishment of an Islamic university, the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji Aliru H. Momoh, said on Monday.

Otaru told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Auchi, that the proposed Islamic university to be sited in Auchi, would promote Islamic faith and restore the decaying moral.

The monarch said members of the board of trustees have approved for the transformation of the existing Hajia Aishetu Oshiomohole’s islamic centre to an Islamic university.

“We built the centre from the proceeds of the N200 million each given to both the Christian and Moslem bodies by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, of Edo state.

“We will continue the development of the projects and the community with proceeds from land, since land ownership resides with the community.

“From such proceeds, we have built the Arafat mosque and other developments around it. We have built modern markets, schools, abattoirs, sunk bole holes and has instituted scholarship board for our children,’’ he said.

According to him, the almighty Allah is with with us in the community and we trust him to continue to give us direction and instructions.

“In Auchi kingdom, the Almighty Allah has given us all we need as a people and that is why we have started having the Koranic recitation here.

“The Koranic recitation involving children of ages 3 and above, will bring about moral and cultural rejuvenation.

“It develops their conscience and helps the people to live in oneness and in the process, they could assess angels that come around during the recitation,’’ he said.

“And for the first time, the Koranic recitation took place outside a state capital and held in Auchi; It’s even more symbolic that the 23rd edition which held in Auchi was adjudged the best so far in its existence,” he said.

He further said the community was making plans to explore the tourism potentials with the development of the existing caves and mountains to increase revenue generation profile of the community.

(NAN)

The Federal Government has released the result of the just concluded 2017 National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) into Federal Unity schools.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it has released results of the Mock Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) conducted on Saturday.

The Head, Information and Media of the board, Fabian Benjamin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview on Thursday in Lagos that 150,000 candidates registered for the mock examination nationwide.

The examination was initially scheduled to hold on April 8 but was postponed to April 29 due to some hitches.

Mr. Benjamin said the results of the mock examination had been uploaded to the board’s website.

“We have finished marking the scripts and uploaded the results to our website.

“We call on all candidates that participated in the examination to check on their results on our website.

“However, these results have nothing to do or add to the main examination scheduled to begin on May 13.

“So, we will not want those who did not participate in the mock to entertain any fear, because it will not take anything away from the main examination.

“We also want to inform all our stakeholders that registration for this 2017 UTME will officially close by 12.00 midnight of May 5.

“No fewer than 1.7 million candidates have so far registered for the examination, and by 12 midnight of May 5, JAMB website for registration will be closed,’’ he said.

Mr. Benjamin enjoined candidates who registered for the examination to get themselves ready and improve on their computer skills.

NAN reports that 633 centres will be used nationwide for the main UTME starting on May 13.

(NAN)

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