THE PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF TEACHING CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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This study was carried out to investigate the problems and prospects of teaching of Christian Religious Studies in secondary schools with a particular reference to Enugu South Local Government Are of Enugu State. To achieve this objective, three research questions and two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The data was collected from primary sources. The primary data were collected with the help of a well-structured questionnaire of two sections administered to teachers of selected secondary schools in Enugu. The collected data were analyzed with tables and simple percentages to analyze the research questions while Chi–square statistical tool was used to test research hypotheses. The study reveals that there are problems facing teachers in teaching Christian religious studies in Nigeria secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area and there are challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools. The study concluded with some recommendations that there is need for the school managers to not only organize, but encourage CRS teachers to attend workshops and seminars because the job of moulding human behavior is dynamic; hence regular attendance to seminars will equip them, with new approaches and methods for effective implementation of CRS curriculum among students.
Christian Religious Studies (CRS) is one of the major subjects missionaries bequeathed to Nigerian education system on the establishment of schools by the 19th century missionaries. The aim was to train people who will be of immense help to the colonial trinity goals (God/Christianity, government/colonization and Gold/commerce). In other to achieve the above, the major curriculum contents of their educational system were Bible knowledge, Arithmetic and English language for communication. To implement fully the contents, adequate attention was given to the understanding of the place of God in man’s life (Nsongo, 2001). During the missionary era, bible knowledge otherwise known as CRS was the core subject. Subsequently, after independence, government took over schools; there was a clarion call for review of curriculum in 1983. The call was as a result of criticisms leveled against colonial education, which some scholars viewed as being too arts oriented and as such lacked relevance to Nigeria upliftment, political emancipation and infrastructural development (Ocho, 2005). Ocho further explained that the situation led to the modification of the curriculum with greater emphasis on sciences and technological subjects.
For effective teaching to take place adequate considerations must be given to the teacher’s skill, the learners’ preparedness to learn, the teaching/learning environment, and the curriculum in addition to such external variables as government education policies, supervision/ monitoring exercise. These factors combine to give rise to effective teaching of any subject at whatever level of education.
Effectiveness of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teaching becomes very important when one considers the indispensable position of the discipline in human socio-cultural, economic, spiritual and moral development. This feat is acknowledged by Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) which placed Religious Studies as one of the core subjects in Group A at the Senior Secondary level. This is probably because Religion goes a long way to determining individual behaviour and aspiration, which in turn determines not only developmental strides of the society but also its internal harmony.
Christian perspective to Religious Studies does not deviate from the general functional roles of religion in the society, such as its efficacy in transcending personal and divisive forces in human society. Through shared symbols, values, norms and doctrines, religion, including Christian religion, provides a forum for people to unite to form integrated groups based on seemingly unfathomable mysteries of human existence.
Specifically, CRK teaching is believed to be capable of instilling in the Nigerian youth the required and desired knowledge, values, behaviours, attitudes and skills that would ensure their effective adaptation in an ever-changing multi-faith and multiethnic society, Nigeria, (Eluu, 2011). Obilom in Eluu (2011) equally holds that CRK curriculum is designed to teach not only the content of the holy book but also the moral lessons desirable therefrom.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigerian society today like other nations of the world is undergoing through some aspect of moral decadence or moral degradation associated with world-wide development. The moral status of the society has reached to the level one could ask what role multiple religious groups play in building up moral society. The moral ills identified among the secondary school pupils have raised questions on the efficacy of religious studies on shaping moral behavior. CRS curriculum review of 1983 included inculcation of moral values in the content in order to address challenges of moral behaviour among students, but the aim seems to be under siege.
Scholars like Njoku (2012) attributed the breakdown in moral behaviour of the school students to teachers’ attitude and government lack of commitment to the teaching of CRS as some that are committed do not handle the subject well, which has made it almost impossible for learners to attain the set goals. It is against this background that the researcher sought to find out if appropriate selection and effective use of teaching methods could enhance attainment of desired learning outcomes in the students’ lives.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to investigate the problems and prospect of teaching Christian Religious Studies secondary schools using Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State. The specific objectives included;
1. To determine the problems facing teachers in teaching Christian religious studies in secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area.
2. To determine the challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools.
3. To determine how the challenges be curbed to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum among secondary school students.
4. To make useful recommendations based on the findings of this study.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Are there any problems facing teachers in teaching Christian religious studies in secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area?
2. Are there any challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools?
3. How could the challenges be curbed to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum among secondary school students?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There are no problems facing teachers in teaching Christian religious studies in Nigeria secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area.
H1: There are problems facing teachers in teaching Christian religious studies in Nigeria secondary schools in Enugu South Local Government Area.
H0: There are no challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools.
H1: There are challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be beneficial to students, teachers, religious instructors, curriculum planners, educational administrators, researchers and textbook authors. To students, the study would help to improve their understanding of CRS and thus adjust properly in the society through active participation in the classroom leaning which stimulate their interest and change the negative perceptions they already have in learning CRS and this invariably help them to develop the affective domain of knowledge in secondary schools. They would equally perform better in internal and external examinations without depending on examination malpractice which have been the problem in the educational sectors. This is because the student stands a chance of becoming masters on their own through involvement in different roles in the classroom. The findings of the study would help teachers to have an insight into the meaning, application and problems of using role play method of teaching and thus change their method when the need arises for proper students’ achievement and interest in CRS in secondary schools. The relevance of effective method in the implementation of Christian religious studies in secondary school would be made known to teachers as they are the chief implementer of planned curriculum of schools. This could be done by teachers observing the students performing their roles and equally identifies the individual’s problem in using the method in the teaching and learning of CRS in secondary schools.
Religious instructors and bodies are not left out as they would understand the best way to educate children in the principles and practice of Christianity which invariably will promote peace and harmony as well as co-existence in the Nigerian society. Curriculum planners or designers would be made to understand curriculum problems that affect the application of effective teaching method like role-play in the implementation of CRS curriculum in secondary schools especially in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The findings of the study would expose the educational administrators to the importance of conducive environment in teaching and learning and thereby put these environmental conditions such as classroom building, learning materials, quality library etc, in order for proper implementation of Christian Religious Studies curriculum. They would equally be meant to understand the interactional effects of gender and role-play method and thus help teachers to initiate change where appropriate. The findings of the study as well as the concepts, theories and methods would be reference materials for researchers especially those that specialize in Christian Religious Studies. Finally, the textbook authors on education would benefit from the study by updating their knowledge on the techniques and besides disseminate the findings through textbooks they publish.
The larger society would equally benefit from this study. This is because, the effective teaching and learning of CRS will bring desirable change in behaviour of students and this invariably would help to reduce high level of religious intolerance, hatred, killing, conflict, terrorism, militancy, and other insurgences that is ravaging Nigerian society.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is on the problems and prospects teaching and learning of Christian Religious Studies in secondary schools with a particular reference to Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There is no study undertaken by a researcher that is perfect. The imperfection of any research is always due to some factors negatively affecting a researcher in the course of carrying out research. Therefore, time constraint has shown no mercy to the research. The limited time has to be shared among many alternative uses, which includes reading, attending lectures and writing of this research, also distance and its attendant costs of travelling to obtain information which may enhance the writing of this study was a major limitation.