The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has rejected the decision of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council to subsume Christian Religious Studies under an omnibus subject tagged Religion and National Values.
The body also expressed suspicion about the decision of the NERDC to limit foreign languages that are compulsory for students in Nigerian schools to only Arabic and French languages.
The PFN said the choice of Arabic language as a compulsory foreign language in Nigerian schools might have confirmed the fear that the Revised Basic Education Curriculum recently introduced by the NERDC was being used as an instrument of religious indoctrination in the country.
It warned that such a move would only promote religious disharmony in the country and called on the NERDC to immediately retrace its steps.
The PFN stated this in its “Statement on the state of the nation,” published as an advertorial in the newspapers on Thursday.
The statement, which was endorsed by the body’s National President, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude; National Secretary, Apostle Emmanuel Kure; and a representative of the National Advisory Council, Bishop David Oyedepo, was the PFN’s resolution at the 2nd quarter meeting of its National Executive Council.
According to the advertorial, the meeting held on June 29, 2017 at the Bishop’s Court, PFN’s National Headquarters.
The PFN said it was concerned about the controversy that the decision to fuse CRK into RNV had generated, maintaining that despite attempts by the NERDC to rationalise its decision, it had failed to give any “tangible justification or convincing explanation” for the new policy.
The Christian body, therefore, called on the NERDC to return to the status quo.
The statement read in part, “The PFN, therefore, calls for an immediate reversal of the decision and a return to the status quo. Christian Religious Studies has to stand on its own as a separate subject, just as it has always been. National Values can stand alone as a subject, just like Civics, so it can be given the attention that it deserves without bringing religion into it.
“Collapsing CRK as only a part of Religion and National Values not only deprives Christian students the opportunity of study as they have always had, but it also forecloses the opportunity of the subject being studied at the tertiary level by those students who might desire to do so.”
Rather than limit compulsory foreign languages in Nigerian schools to only Arabic and French, the PFN called on the NERDC to widen the options by including other languages such as Spanish, German, Chinese and so on, “so that our children can enjoy greater flexibility in foreign language study and not be compelled to study a language they have no interest in.”
The PFN said this was the only way to prevent a chaotic situation in the country, as was already being reflected in media reports.
It said, “We are aware of orchestrated plans to subtly use this policy as a means of forceful religious indoctrination. Indeed, we have received reports from some states where, as a policy, teachers for French and Christian Religious Studies are deliberately not being recruited and these subjects are excluded from the curriculum, thus, leaving students with no other choice in the matter of foreign language and religious study.”