THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION EDUCATION IN PROMOTING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE AMONG STUDENTS IN BARKIN LADI LGA PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA
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The study was carried out to examine the role of Christian Religion Education in promoting peaceful co-existence among students in Barkin Ladi LGA. The sample size of the study comprised of students and 20 teachers, giving a total of 100 respondents who were selected through a stratified random sampling technique. The cross sectional survey design was adopted for the study. Findings obtained shows that the study area were lack of forgiveness, unemployment, religious fanaticism, hatred, poverty and bias reporting by the mass media. Effects of conflict were high rate of school dropout, loss of live and properties, lack of mutual trust and destruction of school building. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made: Government should promote peace, reconciliation and tolerance through education, curriculum planners should see the need for the introduction of a course of study on peaceful co-existence in schools, religious leaders should lay emphasis on teaching their members on the dignity of human life and parents should endeavour to give their children adequate moral training.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
An essential component that aids in the fostering of societal progress and development is peaceful coexistence. Every community must have peace in order to advance. According to Abindu (2002), efforts to promote peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution in society must begin at home with an analysis of how kids interact with one another and receive indoctrination. Actions that foster concord, remove societal barriers, and encourage peaceful coexistence and progress are considered acts of peace. Development will naturally occur as a result of social, economic, and political stability being fostered by peace, which also encourages the freedom of worship for many religious groups and makes space for the expansion of one’s beliefs.
According to Daudu (2005), integration of people from various religious and tribal backgrounds occurs in areas where there is peaceful coexistence. Good management results from a peaceful society, which facilitates productive work and encourages resource efficiency.
The state’s Barkin Ladi region has a reputation for tranquility and has drawn people from the Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, and Igbo ethnic groups for economic interests. However, the peaceful coexistence in the local area was disrupted by large killings and unwarranted property destruction during the 2001 crisis, disappointing locals, residents, national, and worldwide populations. Due to these experiences, people in the area now tend to be divided along religious lines and have a suspicion and lack of trust for one another.
The ongoing conflict in the region has an impact on all aspects of life, including education, the economy, society, and other factors. School students and the teachers are massacred, school buildings were destroyed down, churches and Mosques were also lit a blaze. Children of this age are being raised in a setting that is marked by severe violence and dread. Tank (2008) characterized the current state of affairs as a tense calm or negative peace where the youth have become a recruiting ground for traders who wreak havoc on society. Thus, it is important to start them off young with Christian religious instruction and help them develop a good character.
Several strategies have been used at different levels to promote peaceful coexistence. Similar initiatives to advance a culture of peace in the neighborhood have been motivated by various governments or their agencies, NGOs, civil society organizations, private citizens, and the school. In order to create a peaceful society and a prosperous country, individuals must practice peace. Peace is a condition of concord between individuals or groups and the absence of conflict. Understanding the dynamics of students’ nonviolent engagement at all scales—international, national, state, and local—is crucial. In October 2002, Geneva women met for five (5) days to debate new initiatives aimed at fostering global peace and eradicating the root causes of wars, according to Omotayo (2005). The United Nations designated the years 2000–2010 as an international proclamation for a culture of peace and nonviolence for schools and children of the society in keeping with efforts to promote peace and its sustainability.
Yet, in Nigeria Ukeje (2004) investigated the non-violent demonstration of students from several ethnic groups in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria against environmental deterioration as it impacts, among other things, their fishing. Additionally, he claimed that students engaged in nonviolent protest to enhance the atmosphere in which they engage in productive activities. Similarly, he pointed out that Christian students demonstrated against the imposition of a state of emergency in Nigeria’s Plateau State. They demonstrated peacefully but effectively, demonstrating how students’ knowledge and vigor may be used to advance state peace. Conferences, seminars, and workshops were planned with a focus on peace as part of local plans for peace. To reduce the rate of orphans, dropout students and economic instability in the society. Christian students in Barkin Ladi teamed up to promote peace, since students and schools are more affected during crises.
Therefore, to instill discipline and enhance peaceful co-existence, Christian Religion Education is not only to impact content of the Bible in schools but to impact moral lessons and instructions. Religion provides the moral foundation of every society. Religion teaches that certain things are good and certain things are bad. Without a sound or strong moral foundation every society or nation eventually collapses. Hughes (1999), observed that Christian Religion Education that convey the message of peaceful co-existence is concerned with the improvement of mind. Central to the development of the mind is the growth of knowledge.
Obilom (2004:3) observes that; good Christian Religious Education (CRE) that is based on sound Biblical principles brings social happenings, change situations from worst to best and provide means and answers to questions which science alone cannot provide. It provides in no small measures the patterns of life and behaviour in society. CRE is a useful instrument for social control by making the individual conform to the rules and norms of the society.
Similarly, Robinson (2005:56) noted that, the
Teaching of Christian Religion Education gives the child the right ideas about God. His will and the idea of good and evil. To produce good citizens who will be useful to God, their nation and their neighbours. Christian Religion Education also lead children to respect laws and orders and make them be good followers. Christian values such as honesty, truthfulness, loyalty, obedience, selflessness, kindness to others, and co-operation at work are all encouraged by Christian Religion Education.
Read Also: THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION EDUCATION IN PROMOTING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE IN NIGERIA
Christian Religion Education be it primary, secondary, tertiary institutions, seminaries and theological colleges exposes students to principles of dialogue. Imo (1995) added that, apart from teaching, courses that deal with dialogue, students study Islam and other world religions as part of their syllabi. This would help them respect other people’s faith hence live in peace with one another
However, the teachings of Christian Religion Education has been given the bearest minimum of time allocation on the school time table. Also, very little emphasis has been placed on teachers professional training in Christian Religion education, largely as a result of them is guided belief that anyone can teach Christian religion Education, (Ishaya, 2007). Illori (2004) said the possession of training specifically in Religion education is a first priority in the mind of appointing authorities. As a result religion education has been taught in secondary schools over the years largely by teachers who have been either untrained or only partially trained in the subject.
Ilori further added that the teaching of Religion education amount to nothing less than an exercise in sheer indoctrination, the teaching of tradition and practice as if they were facts. Mamam (2007), in his view, explains that the need for peace cuts across tribal, ethnic, political and cultural lines. Therefore Christian religion education often is the bridge that connects peace to people from different backgrounds and orientations. It is the source of unity for uniting and bringing people together to form a good community of believers.
Christian Religion education teaches peace and tolerance, and its promote the virtue of peaceful co-existence such as, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, respect for life and other values that promote non-violence leading to progress and lasting peace in the school. Christian Religion education has always been a tool for peace building, because we all believe in the existence of God.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
People from varied social and racial backgrounds, as well as those who practice different religions and ideologies, make up our pluralistic society. This means that events that harm one community will almost certainly also influence the other. People in the Barkin Ladi Region coexisted peacefully regardless of their religion, culture, or beliefs prior to the ethno-religious crisis. As time went on, the calm that had been enjoyed in the Barkin Ladi Area was tested due to political and ethno-religious crises that happened there. These crises have been between the Berom, Fulani, and Hausa’s since 200 level until date. These crises have exposed the majority of youngsters to violence, which has raised the rate of crime in the area. The crisis has generated a lot of problems in the local government area which has hampered peaceful co-existence in the area. The land is now segregated along religious lines with different groups scared to reside in areas not dominated by their fellow religious members, for fear of future reoccurrence. As things are presently, Christian dominated areas, like Kassa, Heipang, Foron, Fan and Ropp. While Fulani/Muslim counterparts, dominated areas like Rankung, Rakweng, Shonong, Maseh, Dogo, Fass and Sharu. Many people are still afraid that the crises seen in the past may resurface and adherents of the two faiths still see each other with suspicion. It is almost 12 years after the crises and religious relationship that existed among the people in the area prior to the crises is yet to return. The brutal killings, destruction and fear has led to the closure some schools, which has resulted to school children not performing excellently because of insecurity.
Peace building becomes increasingly important as a means of preventing continuing hostility. As a result, many attempts to building peace have been made at various levels by different groups. The government has intervened through its agencies, NGOs both at international and national levels, individual efforts the schools and others have tried in order to promote the culture of peace that has lost its relevance but the role played by Christian education appears to be silent or non-existent.
Students are most hit during period of open violence. The researcher deemed it necessary to investigate into the matter to draw out Christian religion education roles in promoting peaceful co-existence.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to examine the role of Christian Religious Education as a tool of promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi LGA. The study is also designed to achieve the specific objectives:
- To identify the causes of crises in Barkin Ladi LGA.
- To identify the effect of the crises on educational activities in the area.
- To identify ways that Christian Religion Education can help in establishing peace among school children.
- To identify approaches in the teaching and learning of Christian Religion Education that would promote peaceful co-existence.
- To identify ways that Government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can promote peaceful co-existence in the local area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions have been formulated to guide the study:
- What are the causes of violence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area?
- What are the effects of crises on students’ academic activities in Barkin Ladi
- What are the efforts made by government and non-governmental organizations in promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi?
- To what extent can Christian Religion Education promote peaceful co-existence among students in Barkin Ladi LGA?
- What are the approaches adopted by teachers in teaching and learning Christian Religion Education that could promote peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area?
The following hypotheses are formulated to guide the study:
Ho: The prevalence of crises in Barkin Ladi has no significant relationship with students’ enrolment.
Hi: There is no significant relationship between crises in Barkin Ladi and academic activities in the area.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is the hope of the researcher that at the end of her findings the study would be of great benefit to the following:
The study would help the students to see the need of education, to improve them in building their morals on how they will have respect, tolerance for each other and discourage them from involving themselves in conflicts.
The study would help teachers to improve their method of teachings, and to build students both physical and spiritually as values such as tolerance, respect and obedience and to see the danger of being involved in crises or destructive attitudes in the society.
Parents would benefit from this study to see the importance of schooling to educate their children to embrace peace and tolerate and to develop good commitment and grow up with the hearts of loving fellow children in the society.
To our religious leaders the study would help them educate their members by teaching them the true and right doctrines in such a way that fear of God will be inculcated in the society, members would learn tolerance and respect for each other religion and live peacefully.
The study would help our politicians to realize that the act of governance involves people not stones, and to know that love and peace are fundamental in the society, therefore this would build good relationship among people.
To the government it would be of benefit in the sense that efforts would be made to build local, national and international partnership, and to create laws that will enforce peaceful co-existence.
The study would help other researchers to contribute in transforming and correcting the understanding of the perpetrators of crises to become instrument of peace, and take the necessary steps to foster unity and tolerance in the society.
Read Also: EFFECT OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION ON CHRISTIAN HOME
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study focus on the role of Christian Religious Education in promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. It would have been better to examine the role of Christian Religion Education in promoting peaceful co-existence in all the schools, but due to the width of the area, the researcher limited the study to some selected schools within the local government area. Presently the people are living in fear and there is division among them. Therefore the research work is focus on searching for the causes of lack of peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. The danger caused by lack of peaceful co-existence and how it has affected the students’ academics.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Christian: Refers to a person who believes in the teaching of Jesus Christ and someone who has been born again and put faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Religion: Refers to man’s expression of his acknowledgement of the divine or a system of belief and practices relating to the sacred and unity its adherents in communities.
Education: Refers to the act or process of impacting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the power of reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Peaceful Co-existence: Refer to a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence in a country or an area, state of being calm of quietude and living in friendship with somebody.
Secondary School: Refers to a school which provides education to people between the age of 11 and 18, the level of studies between primary and under level of learning.
Promoting: Refer to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further; to promote world peace.
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