ROLES OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS EDUCATION IN PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

Human rights are those rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we can not live as human beings and without which no society is viable and able to survive. Since the United Nations made a declaration of human rights, on 10th December 1948, it has been receiving global attention. Almost every nation of the world, including Nigeria have it in their constitution. Human rights and fundamental freedom allow as to fully develop our human qualities, intelligence, talents and conscience and to satisfy our spiritual and social needs. They are based on mankind‟s increasing demand for a life in which the inherent dignity and worth of each human being receives equal respect and protection. Parajuli (2010), Deprivation of human rights and human rights abuses are the major causes of conflict in our society. When people discover that their fundamental human rights are violated, they either engage in violence or crime to pursue their rights at any cost. Inorder to respect people‟s right, Christian Religious Education has the potential to provide opportunities for both males and females to develop the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes necessary for survival in society. Religious education in the Christian sense includes all efforts and processes which help to bring children and adults into a vital and saving experience of God revealed in Christ Jesus. Christian religious education as a problem solving discipline is always interested in finding out the causes of violations and infringements on people‟s right (Quaarcoopome 2008). The social, moral and spiritual qualities could be learnt in Christian Religious Education. Man is a physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual being. Any educational system which neglects the spiritual part is unbalance. (Musongole,, 2010). The contents of Christian Religious Education is based on the teachings contained in the Holy Bible which included the importing of knowledge about the existence of God, the creation stories, the salvation of God‟s people, imminent condemnation of the disobedient to the commandments of God, and his love and concern for the oppressed, the poor, orphans and widows. Through Christian education, education, young and adult have the potential to learn skills such as exploration of religious, human experience, and one‟s personal search through observing, investigating, questioning, researching,, enquiring, listening and synthesizing. This makes Christian religious education unique and able to address issues on human rights. Education is the most important component of human resources development, and is accorded, a pride of place in many countries‟ development activities. There is no doubt that the importance of education cannot be underscored because there is no country that has succeeded without educating its people in the right way (Osokoya, (2007) colleges off education are expected to serve as training ground on morality for our greater leaders of tomorrow. Teaching as a profession demands that the teacher does not possess adequate mastery of subject – matter only, he must also serve as a good model to his student. Abdulkareem (2005) states the goals of colleges of Education include among others:

  1. To produce teachers and instill in them the spirit of inquiry and creativity.
  2. Production of highly motivated conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for the primary and junior secondary levels of education system.
  3. Production of knowledge, progressive and effective teachers who can inspire children to learn. Lecturers and students should be good role models. Their life styles should discourage all forms of human rights abuses and violation by helping the helpless and the weak in the society. At creation, man was given a number of duties, to rule over all the earth, and over all creatures that move along the ground (Gen. 1:26).This can be seen in the Garden of Eden where man was given freewill. They were endowed with the ability to choose to obey or disobey God. (Ajibola, 2008). Every individual is endowed with certain rights – right to life, right to liberty, right to move from one place to another. The ten commandments known as the Decalogue lay more emphasis on man to man relationship which has to do with the promotion of human rights. God warns his people against human right violation, as revealed in the ten commandments by saying „you shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, you shall not follow the multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear false witness in a suit, so as to prevent justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man and do not slay innocent and the righteous. And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. (Ex. 20:13 – 16, 23:2, 3, 6 – 8). In view of Biblical emphasis on human rights, Amaechi (2003), observes that human rights given to protect the individual, are derived from Christian thought. The declaration of human rights by the united nations on December 10, 1948, clearly demonstrate their Christian roots. The ban on slavery and torture, the principle of equality before the law, the right to rest and recreation- as seen in the Sabbath or Sunday rest-come from Christian traditions and not by chance the governments which confirm these rights and anchor them in their constitution because of its numerous benefits to their citizens. Following the declaration of human rights the General Assembly called upon all member countries to publicize the text of the declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded primarily in schools and other educational institutions, without discrimination based on the political status of countries or territories”, Nigeria is a signatory to all the above convention. (Olakanmi, 2010). In Nigeria, the fundamental human rights are entrenched in the 1999 constitution. For instance, in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, they are contained in chapter four section 33 – 46 human rights are essential to all and Sundry. They are recognized internationally, within international law, global and regional institutions and the activities of non-governmental organizations. It has become a cornerstone of public policy around the world. Human rights and fundamental freedom allow us to fully develop and use our human qualities, our intelligence, our talents and our conscience and to satisfy our spiritual and social needs. They are based on mankind‟s increasing demand for a life in which the inherent dignity and worth of each human being receives equal respect and protection (Ladan, 2004).

1.2 Statement of the problem

To become true leaders of tomorrow, the students obviously need encouragement both from the society, the school management and lecturers in making sure that their rights are protected. Here, experience has shown that some lecturers have failed the youths by not giving them the guidance and direction they need in order to take up the mantle of leadership in society. For example, Abdullahi (2005) observes that corruption which violates the right of individuals has a lot of impact on teacher education. This could be seen in a situation whereby some lecturers make demands (in cash or kind) so as to pass a student who is not serious with his/her studies at the expense of the dedicated, committed and hardworking student. According to Etete (2005), colleges of education are guilty of examination malpractice, falsification of documents, bribing of school officials. Administrators divert money intended for capital projects and welfare of staff for their personal use. Non academic staff like the clerks demand for bribes before they move files to appropriate offices. Admission officers manipulate the system in order to get admissions for their friends or those who have bribed them. (Abdullahi 2005). Equity and validity considerations required that no student is granted an unfair advantage over other students in an examination, such as having prior access to examination question or receiving support during the course of an examination. The effect of this syndrome is that certificate awarding institutions promote and graduate incompetent graduates who are not able to contribute positively to national development. The lecturers are not free from this mess. They take bribes from students to pass them with high marks and sometimes sexually debase the female students in exchange for a pass Bakut (2003). Sexual violence is becoming a common occurrence among students. The vulnerable group are the weak and indecisive female students which both the lecturers and fellow male students take undue advantage of. There is the case of sexual harassment in the Faculty of Education in A.B.U, Zaria which a male lecturer asked a female student to come to his office at an odd hour to discuss her missing exam script. Fortunately for her, she went to his office with another male student who was waiting for her. On getting to her lecturer‟s office he attempted raping her, not being aware of the presence of any person within the vicinity of his office. The timely intervention of her male colleague was what saved her. The lecturer was eventually dismissed from the service. Some students of colleges of education are not left out in human rights violation. For example, during the 2012 long vocation training (LVT), in Federal College of Education Zaria, some students brought in young girls to serve as nannies. Some of these girls eight to ten years old and were deprived of education and were physically abused. In view of human rights violation, Jaja (1994), reveals that no nation especially a developing nation like Nigeria can progress and deliver the dividends of democracy when she fails to recognize the plight of children in the society who are the leaders of tomorrow.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to find out the role of Christian Religious Education in promoting Human Rights in colleges of education in Kaduna State, while the specific objectives are to: –

  1. Find out the various ways by which Human Rights are violated in colleges of education in Kaduna State.
  2. Investigate what Christian Religious Education teaches on Human Rights.

iii. Examine the possible ways lecturers and students of Christian Religious Studies can help in Promoting Human Rights in colleges of education in Kaduna State.

 

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions are proposed as a guide to the study;

  1. What are the various ways by which Human Rights are violated in colleges of education in Kaduna State?
  2. What does Christian Religious Education teach on Human Rights?

iii. What possible ways can lecturers and students of Christian Religious Studies help in promoting Human Rights in colleges of education in Kaduna State?

1.5 Hypotheses The study has the following hypotheses

  1. There is no significant difference between the responses of male and female respondents in their understanding of various ways by which Human Rights are violated in colleges of education in Kaduna State.
  2. There is no significant difference between the responses of lecturers and students of Christian Religious Studies on what Christian Religious Education teaches on Human Rights.

iii. There is no significant difference between the opinions of lecturers and students of Christian Religious Studies on the possible ways of Promoting Human Rights in Colleges of Education in Kaduna State.

 

1.6 Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this study will be useful for lecturers and students of Christian Religious Education in Colleges of Education by highlighting their roles in promoting human rights. It will also encourage lecturers and students in organizing workshops/seminars on human rights issues. Also, findings of this study will be of relevance to lecturers and students of Christian Religious Education because it will provide insight on Human rights violation and proffer suggestions which will be helpful in addressing human rights abuses.

It is hoped that this study will help create awareness on the promotion of human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. It will encourage Christians to fight and protect the inalienable Human Rights, and to help create awareness on the role of Christian Religious Education in changing the negative Nigerian value such as bribery, corruption and dishonesty. It is also hoped that through this study, people shall participate actively in the on-going peace and reconciliatory initiatives in Kaduna State by expressing their views on defending the rights of the oppressed, defenseless and less privileged. This research hopes to arouse the consciousness of citizens of this country about the need for mutual co-existence and sustainable peace in Nigeria. The study is also significant in that it will promote harmony between and within religious groups. It will be a reference material for researchers in related fields of study.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study covers all the students and lecturers of Christian Religious Studies in all the Colleges of Education in Kaduna State. This is because the researcher‟s area of focus is on the role of Christian Religious Education in promoting human rights in Colleges of Education in Kaduna State. The reason for choosing Colleges of Education is because it produces teachers who are expected to serve as good models for the students and the society at large.44DDDD

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