In schools, as in most communities, the nation is currently grappling with moral degeneration in the face of increasing concerns over the burden of indiscipline and other vices like stealing, examination malpractices, lack of respect for teachers and school authorities, sexual perversion and addictive behaviours. While the nation continues to contend with these, it appears there is a conscious effort gradually tilting towards normalising threats to morality and attacks on the cultural-cum-religious values.
Or else, how do we explain the reason for the inclusion of sex and homosexuality in primary and secondary school textbooks? Recently, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), raised the alarm about the inclusion of lewd and other sexual contents in primary and secondary school books.
In the face of this appalling development, the question is raised as to how Mathematics, English, and Social Science textbooks used in many Nigerian secondary schools contain lewd and sexually explicit matters. This may be intended to sexualize the pupils. For what purpose?
In one of the books, a Mathematics question for primary school pupils is “20 condoms + 5 condoms – 2 condoms equal”. It is worrisome that some of the textbooks used to teach these children promote abortion, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) habits, masturbation, and safe sex with condoms, suggesting clearly that the intent is to expose them to these vices at such a young age.
We considered it absolutely disturbing that those contents like lesson on teenage pregnancy, types of abortions students can do, indoctrination of the pupils on terminology of unsafe and safe abortion, ways to prevent pregnancy with contraceptives, how to enjoy ‘safe sex’ without pregnancy and other patently offensive materials for such young minds were approved for use in primary and secondary school books.
Alarmingly, in our opinion, some of these books contain vivid descriptions of having sex and sexual experience, encouraging sexual relationships with HIV patients; kissing, promoting abortion, LGBT, masturbation and safe-sex with condoms among other very obscene and vulgar expressions.
In the considered opinion of this newspaper, pornography in books is as harmful as pornography in videos. There is clearly no reason, whatsoever, for books in school libraries patronized by these young minds to contain pornographic materials. However, the question on the lips of most Nigerians is who sanctioned the inclusion of patently lewd and offensive materials in primary and secondary school textbooks?
Only recently, the Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education, Professor Hamid Bobboi, decried the high rate of vices and negative behaviours in Nigerian schools, especially at the basic education level insisting that the trend is fueled by the degeneration of moral values overturning Nigerian society. “The disheartening aspect is that many of these vices are now prevalent in our schools, especially the basic education schools,” Bobboi had said.
The UBEC boss noted that the Commission conducted a survey to gather information on the level of moral degeneration, its causes as well as its effect on teaching and learning in the school. Fundamentally, the UBEC need not look further from the books it sanctioned for use in the basic education levels. It appears the UBEC whose responsibility includes coordinating all aspects of UBE programme implementation needs to be told in an unmistaken term that it needs to take its well-thought-out plans of fighting moral degeneration to content creators for our primary and secondary school books.
Like most Nigerians, we view the inclusion of lewd and sexual contents in primary and secondary school books as a clear affront on the culture and religious values of Nigerians who are predominantly Muslims and Christians and whose religions clearly forbid such.
But are these books approved by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) whose mandates include to develop, review and enrich curriculum at all levels; undertake and promote book development, and local authorship for quality assurance; conduct educational research for public policies formulation and implementation?
Without doubt, the NERDC owes Nigerian parents, especially those whose children are needlessly being exposed to lewd and sexual contents at such a young age, some explanations.
However, regardless of NERDC’s explanations, there is a compelling need for all the relevant stakeholders and appropriate government agencies including the ministry of education, to urgently recall these books and ensure that henceforth, books used by these young minds are insulated from lewd and sexually offensive contents.
This brings to the fore, the danger inherent in globalization. Some of these schools claim to run foreign curricula just to emphasise the international status of the institutions. But must we borrow everything just to raise the hype? Do parents go through their wards’ books? If they do not, this is the time to start before they end up with homosexuals and lesbians as sons and daughters.