Dr Bukola Saraki, the Senate President of Nigeria, has urged all stakeholders in education to remain calm on the new nine-year Basic Education Curriculum to enable the National Assembly to look into various issues involved.
Saraki made the call while receiving a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja on Wednesday.
He assured the delegation that the Senate Committee on Basic Education would investigate the complaints by the association on the curriculum with a view to making it acceptable and satisfactory to all religions.
Explaining the background to the introduction of the policy, Saraki said the process began in 2010 when the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan came up with a series of reforms.
“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.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Prof. Charles Adisa, called for the intervention of the National Assembly to ensure genuine respect for Nigeria’s Constitution.
Adisa, who represented, the CAN National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, said: “We also call for the abolition of obnoxious laws that infringe on freedom of worship.”
He said CAN wanted Islamic Religious Knowledge and Christian Religious Knowledge to be offered separately, while Social Studies and Civic Education should be merged.
Adisa also said the federal and state ministries of education should employ more teachers for religious subjects.
“This will allow students to opt for religious studies of their choice in all public schools in Nigeria,” he added.
Adisa noted that the Constitution was supreme over any other consideration.
He stressed that Chapter 1 of the Constitution states the fundamental human rights of Nigerians, including freedom of religion.