Following calls from various quarters to instill morals in children and youths, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Niger State Chapter has called on the state Governor, Rt. Hon. Umar Mohammed Bago to revisit the issue of recruiting Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teachers in public schools.
The State Chairman, Most Rev. Dr. Bulus Dauwa Yohanna said at the 45th anniversary and National Conference of the National Association of Christian Religious Educators of Nigeria (NACREN) in Minna that CRK as a subject in Public Schools can help address huge percentage of social vices amongst teeming youths in the state.
While speaking on what he tagged ‘Who is Afraid of CRK in Public Schools?’, the CAN Chairman said “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”.
Most Rev. Yohanna who is also the Catholic Bishop of Kontagora Diocese explained that Government needs to hear and act to several calls made by the association on the need in reinstalling the teaching of CRK in public schools as being done with the Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) that has qualified teachers to teach in most of the schools to ensure justice.
The state CAN chairman who is also Catholic Bishop of Kontagora Diocese disclosed that the issue has been lingering, and there has been a running battle between successive governments in the State and CAN since 2003 over the issue of employment of CRK teachers in all public schools in the state.
He explained that ain 2004 when there were about 152 public schools, there only 120 CRK teachers in the state. Adding that, “in 2004 when Niger hosted the National Conference of CRK Teachers, the statistics given to us by government was 220 CRK teachers including the non qualified teachers for over 450 schools.
“The 2016 statistical data, the state needed about 300 CRK teachers for the over 300 schools in the state. But as at today, most of the CRK teachers have either retired or some of them who are still in active service have been converted to teach Social Studies or any other subjects.
“This has been a big challenge and CAN have in the past engaged volunteer teachers and even paid stipends to fill the gap. Whereas the Christians are being denied teachers, the story is different with the Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) as they have qualified teachers to teach in most of the schools”.
The cleric also argued that the best ways to tackle youth restiveness, drug abuse, waywardness, disrespect and other vices in the society is to teach our children the way of God, so that they are not influenced by worldly affairs.
Rev Yohanna further stated,” the last time I checked, I discovered that, teaching of CRK in both primary and secondary schools and even tertiary institutions has become an issue in the State”
“And so, I asked, who is afraid of CRK in public schools? I discovered that most of the schools do not have teachers, even the State College of Education, Minna that should produce CRK teachers does not have a large number of students, because some of these students are not encouraged to apply to study CRK mainly because after graduation they fear that they may not get employed and so they go for other subjects.
He then called on the government to make the study of CRK attractive for those in higher institutions so as to have professional teachers in the subject.
Earlier, the National President, NACREN, Rev. Dr. Reuben Maiture urged the federal government to lay more emphasis on the Christian Religious Knowledge as it does with other fields.
Accordingly, he said, “the segregation, marginalization and unfair treatment on the CRK teachers by governments at all level should stop. Government emphasizes on the ICT, Technology, Entrepreneur sectors and so on but relegates CRK that would have help to transform the society morally to the background”.