The Niger State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria has tasked the State Governor,  Mohammed Bago, to recruit Christian Religious Knowledge teachers in public schools alongside Islamic Religious Teachers in the Stat.

The Niger State CAN Chairman, Most Rev. Bulus Dauwa Yohanna, made the call during the 45th anniversary and National  Conference of the National Association of Christian Religious Educators of Nigeria in Minna.

He said CRK as a subject in Public Schools can help to address the huge percentage of social vices amongst the teeming youths in the state.

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. The segregation, marginalization and unfair treatment of CRK teachers by governments at all levels should stop.

“The government should emphasise on the ICT, technology and entrepreneur sectors but relegate CRK, which would have helped to transform the society morally to the background.”

Yohanna, who is also the Catholic Bishop of the Kontagora Diocese, disclosed that the issue had been lingering.

He said there has been a running battle between successive governments in the state and CAN since 2003 over the issue of favouring IRK, by ensuring that qualified teachers are available in most schools while neglecting CRK in the background.

He recalled that in 2004 when there were about 152 public schools, only 120 CRK teachers were in the state.

He added that “In 2004, when Niger hosted the National Conference of CRK Teachers, the statistics given to us by the government was 220 CRK teachers, including the non-qualified teachers for over 450 schools.

“The  2016 statistical data showed that the state needed about 300 CRK teachers for the over 300 schools in the state. But as of today, most of the CRK teachers have either retired or some of them still in active service have been converted to teach Social Studies or any other subjects.

“This has been a big challenge and CAN has in the past engaged volunteer teachers and even paid stipends to fill the gap. Where the Christians are being denied teachers, the story is different with the Islamic Religious Knowledge, as they have qualified teachers to teach in most of the schools”.

The cleric also argued that the best way to tackle youth restiveness, drug abuse, waywardness, disrespect and other vices in society is to teach children the way of God, so that they will not be easily influenced by worldly affairs.

“So, I ask, 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, which should produce CRK teachers does not have a large number of students, because some of them are not encouraged to apply to study CRK after graduation. They fear that they may not get employed and so they go for other subjects,” he stated.

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