THE IMPACT OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES ON THE BEHAVIOR OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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THE IMPACT OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES ON THE BEHAVIOR OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

The high level of moral decadence and insurgencies in Nigerian nation is an indication that there is poor religious teaching in secondary school system. Christian religious studies (CRS) as one of the religious subjects taught in secondary school in Nigerian takes a central position in ensuring moral and spiritual wellbeing of individuals in the society. The key roles of CRS in equipping the individuals and ensuring high level of morality is made clear in the objectives of CRS at the senior secondary level which include; to provide more opportunities for Nigerian youths to learn more about god and thereby develop their faith in god; to enable the youths to accept Christ as their savior; to help the youths develop Christian attitude and moral values (such as humility, respect, love, and justice, etc.); to instill in the youth the spirit of tolerance , reconciliation ,peaceful co-existence and non-violence as well as to develop and foster in the youth the spirit of respect for all people and human life (Universal Basic Education Curriculum (UBA), (2013).

 

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 Studies, 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, 2011). During the missionary era, bible studies otherwise known as CRS were 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, 2015). Ocho further explained that the situation led to the modification of the curriculum with greater emphasis on sciences and technological subjects.

 

The major aims of inclusion of CRS in the education curriculum is to raise generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, appreciate dignity of labour and those moral values specified in the broad national aims as good citizens. While at the secondary school level the subject is meant to prepare learners for useful living through inculcation of Christian attitudes and values, and to prepare learners for higher education (Akubue, 2012).

 

Without effective religious studies Nigerian nation will likely to end up in conflict, religious crisis, insurgencies and social unrest among other things. This is because religious control human actions in both social, political, economical and otherwise (Eluu, 2015). The teaching of CRS dates back to the 19th century with the pioneers of Nigerian education (Banjo, 2013). During the missionary administration because of the moral values it teaches the people. Following the government takeover of schools, Nigerian, secondary school curriculum was reviewed and more emphasis was placed on the studies of science and technological subjects. This shift affected the study and interest of students in CRS in school system leading to poor enrollment in CRS. Gbenda (2014) stresses that student’s enrollment and interest in CRS could as well be as of result of inadequate provision of teaching aids, fewer professional teachers and lack of incentives among other things. Njoku (2015) equally adduced that poor enrollment of student in CRS could be attributed to teacher’s instructional delivery system and teachers’ personality. CRS is taught in all the senior secondary schools in Nigerian as an elective subject. The elective nature of the subject in senior secondary schools in Nigeria equally reduced the number of students that register for the subject in West African examination council (WAEC) and national examination council (NECO) as well as other internal examination. CRS is a subject that bases its teaching on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ (Ugwu, 2011) as a teaching subject, it is not only geared towards converting people to Christianity, but is necessary for value formation, orientation and reorientation of value system as well as spiritual upliftment of the student. Ali and Akubue in Njoku (2015) observed that, CRS is a subject which aims at developing and fostering in the lives of the students Christian attitudes and values such as respect to life, obedience to constitutional authority, responsible self, selfless series to God and humanity. To them, CRS is seen as an academic discipline that is designed to provide the leaner with moral and spiritual transformation. This shows that CRS is the study of Christian lifestyles such as love, caring, patience, faith, forgiveness and hope in God as well as good relationship among men. Obanya in Njoku (2014) maintained that CRS like every other subjects has five features. These features are; a set of rational theoretical formulation, inherent capacity for growth, applicable solution to human problems, organized Body of the knowledge and a degree of uniformity with other area of academic activities. In the context of this study, CRS is defined as a social science subject that teaches students good moral behaviour, fearing of God, knowledge and skills that will make them to contribute their quota in socio-economic and moral development in senior secondary schools. The inclusion of sound religions and moral values in the life of students invariably could help in the development of spiritual and moral sound being of the students.

 

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Christian Religious Studies (CRS) is designed to achieve many goals in the lives of students ranging from teaching the students about God to the teaching of moral values which is geared towards shaping human behavior. These values are embedded in the stories and events recorded in the bible (drawn from the life of Christian and other mystical beings). Notwithstanding the lofty aims of CRS, studies by Ali and Akubue (2014) showed that learners’ moral attitude have not improved greatly especially at this era. Meanwhile, an appraisal of CRS curriculum contents revealed that the subject has the potentials required to build one’s moral character.

 

Right from inception of education in Nigeria, CRS has been one of the core subjects in secondary schools. However, there have been questions on the efficacy of CRS programme in instilling discipline and moulding character of the learner. Judging from the state of the moral behaviour of students, it seems that the subject is not achieving its major goals, which is developing in learners the ability to attain intellectual and moral perfection, discipline them both mentally and morally so as to face their daily and future challenges as good citizens (Akubue, 2012).

 

The above observations seem to suggest that CRS is taught in schools without much impact on the lives of the people, that is, without achieving its sets objectives in students’ lives. The study therefore sought to examine the impact of Christian religious studies (CRS) on the behavior of secondary school students in Nigeria.

 

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The study sought to know the impact of Christian religious studies (CRS) on the behavior of secondary school students. Specifically, the study sought to;

i.  examine the relationship between Christian Religious Studies and behavior of secondary school students.

ii.  examine the challenges to effective teaching of CRS in secondary schools.

iii.  suggest ways of curbing the challenges affecting the teaching of CRS in secondary school students. 

 

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

i.  What is the relationship between Christian Religious Studies and behavior of secondary school students?

ii.  What are the challenges to effective teaching of CRS in secondary schools?

iii.  What are the ways of curbing the challenges affecting the teaching of CRS in secondary school students?

 

1.5      RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Ho: There is no relationship between Christian Religious Studies and behavior of secondary school students.

 

1.6       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This 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.

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.

This study will also be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

 

1.7       SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is on impact of Christian religious studies on the behavior of secondary school students.

Limitations of study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

 

1.8       DEFINITION OF TERMS

Christian: Relating to or professing Christianity or its teachings.

Religious Studies: Religious studies, alternately known as the study of religion, is an academic field devoted to research into religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.

Behaviour: The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.

Secondary School: secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place.

Student: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.

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