A don at the University of Ibadan, Ibrahim Olatunde Uthman has advocated for the compulsory inclusion of religious ethics in the lesson contents for students at all levels in order to curb social vices.
He was speaking with EduCeleb.com shortly after delivering a lecture titled “The role of examining bodies in nation building and socio-religious harmony” at the Annual Ramadan Lecture organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Muslim Community over the weekend in Lagos.
The Senior Lecturer in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the UI also cautioned teachers and examiners against setting inciting questions for their students.
“We need religious ethics generally at all levels. Some of the challenges we are facing in our society today such as cultism, kidnapping, and terrorism. It is time we started including religious ethics in what we teach and examine students about at all levels, including exam bodies like WAEC, JAMB and NECO.
“Through this, we are creating a well informed into this world. The youth today know how to use different ICT gadgets for different purposes. So, if you don’t inculcate religious ethics in them, they may destroy the society.” he stated.
Dr Uthman added that such efforts would mean that religious studies would be mandatory for students at all levels of education.
“By implication, religious studies – Christian Religious Studies and Islamic Religious Studies – would be compulsory at all levels of education. If you are Christian, take CRS, and if you are a Muslim, take IRS. That is to inculcate in them God’s consciousness and that will help our society,” he said.
While flaying some examiners for setting inciting test questions, he identified negative bias towards the faith of others as the root of it.
“Usually, inciting questions come up because of religious bias. If, as a Muslim, I think I should attack Christians, if I set questions for my students, I can set those that abuse Christianity.
“But we are saying that this is wrong. It is not fostering religious harmony. That is why it is our duty. At all levels of exams when people set questions, some people moderate the questions. When you see that a question is inciting, that question should be struck out so as to limit the problem of religious crisis we have in the society,” he added.
The Islamic University of Malaysia alumnus also added his voice to calls against violent terrorism while noting the role academics play in such a cause. He challenged the media to promote such too.
“Different religious professional organisations hold conferences and seminars to educate people. Whether those would attend such seminars is another thing.
“This is where the media must also help. If you gather people together, those you gathered together are sizable. The media needs to assist us in dissemination of such messages to larger members of the public,” he said.
Among such organisations involved in fighting violent terrorism intellectually is the National Association for the Study of Religion and Education (NASRED) which holds various events towards such a cause.
He also gave the instance of his invitation by the Imam Corps of the Nigerian Air force to deliver a lecture on combating terrorism using religion as he called on other entities to assist in reaching more people and achieving peace.
The event also witnessed a health talk delivered by a Senior Lecturer and Consultant Nephrologist at the University of Lagos College of Medicine, Dr Taslim Babawale Bello.
Speaking on the choice of the topics for the lecture, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Ramadan Lecture, Alhaji Adekunle Yusuf
“As an examination body, we need to inform, educate and enlighten people about the connection between religion and examination bodies, how they coexist and how they assist each other in the development of the nation.
The Deputy Director of Finance at WAEC said that the health talk was to help participants deal with health challenges during and after the month of Ramadan.