What started as a simple observation by parents on some of the books being used in some schools, especially private institutions, has gradually escalated into a serious concern in Kano.
This observation generated a serious concern among members of the public as some textbooks in use were said to promote immorality and offer sexual orientation to school children in the state.
In what started as a social media barrage and campaign, coupled with a few media reports, it was observed that the New Edition, Part II of the Queen Primer, which is said to contain a complete course of reading, spelling and writing of the Royal School series from Nelson Publishers Limited, in a systematic approach, contains some ‘sexually aligned verses.’
Concerned parents in the state were of the view that such verses contradicted their norms and values of religion, tradition and culture. Many parents, therefore, disagreed and questioned the morale behind the context of some lessons inside the book, as well as the authorities that approved the books for use in schools.
In a damage control move, the Kano State Government, through the Office of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Private and Voluntary Institutions, issued a statement announcing a notification to operators of schools in the state of its intention to prohibit the use of six text books in nursery, primary and secondary schools.
The statement gave the list of the banned books as, The Queen Primer (all editions), A Royal School Series Published by Nelson Publishers Limited; Basic Science Junior Secondary School by Razat Publishers, 2018 edition (JSS3) and Active Basic Science, 2014 edition By Tola Anjorin, Okechukwu Okolo, Philias Yara, Bamidele Mutiu, Fatima Koki, Lydia Gbagu.
Others are Basic Science and Technology for Junior Secondary School 1, 2 and 3 by W.K Hamzat, S. Bakare; New Concept English for Senior Secondary Schools for SSS2, revised edition (2018 edition) by J Eyisi, A Adekunle, T Adepolu, F Ademola Adeoye, Q Adams and, J Eto and Basic Social Studies for Primary Schools by BJ Obebe, D M Mohammed, S N Nwosu, J A Adeyanju and H Carbin.
“As educators and role models, it is our shared responsibility to provide quality education while nurturing a virtuous character among our students,” the statement reads.
Further findings revealed that in the said books: Basic Science for Junior Secondary School, Razat Publishers, 2018 edition (for JSS3), on page 78 to 83, there are harmful contents on teenage pregnancy, types of abortion students can do, myths and facts about pregnancy, indoctrination of the pupils on terminology of unsafe and safe abortion, six ways to prevent pregnancy with contraceptives, how to enjoy ‘safe sex’ without pregnancy, false information on four types of abstinence of which none is the actual definition of abstinence to be promoted among adolescents.
Similarly in the book ‘Active Basic Science, 2014 edition by Tola Anjorin, Okechukwu Okolo, Philias Yara, Bamidele Mutiu, Fatima Koki, Lydia Gbagu under page 31- 34; and also in the book ‘Cry for Justice by Ademola Adefila; there is a question mark in the content of pages 60 to 61 and 64 to 65 under the description of having sex and sexual experience.
Also, in the book ‘Stigma by Samson O. Shobayo, it was revealed that the book encourages sexual relationships with HIV patients; kissing, etc likewise in the book ‘Basic Science and Technology for Junior Secondary Schools 1, 2, and 3: By W.K Hamzat, S. Bakare under page page 29 to 47, page 48 to 52, page 64, page 67 to 73 and page 86 of the three books are said to have content that promote abortion, LGBT, masturbation and safe-sex with condoms.
It was, however, discovered that in the book, ‘New Concept English for Senior Secondary Schools for SSS2, revised edition (2018 edition) by J Eyisi, A Adekunle, T Adepolu, F Ademola Adeoye, Q Adams and, J Eto, issues have been raised on the content of pages 103 to 104.
When contacted on what necessitated the state government actions on the books, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Private and Voluntary Institutions said the institution had the sole mandate to regulate activities of the schools, therefore cannot watch the affairs of schools in the state go wayward without taking swift action for the purpose of rescuing the state and innocent children from such attempts that negate the norms and values of the society.
“It is our sole responsibility to regulate the activities of all private and voluntary schools in the state. We cannot sit back and watch things that are not okay encroach on our domain and destabilise the system. What happened is of public interest. There is outcry from members of the public and we must listen to them. This contradicts the religion, culture and tradition of our society. It is not meant for us. Already, we are working towards harmonising the curriculum with both public and private schools in the state. Already, the education sector in the state is weak and we must revive it. It is unacceptable,” he said.
MURIC commends government’s action
Few hours after the announcement of the ban of the six textbooks, the Muslim Rights Concern (MIRIC) commended the Kano State Government for its action.
The chairman of MURIC in Kano, Mr Hassan Indabawa, in a statement noted that the move by the state government to remove some lewd and pernicious teaching materials from the curriculum of basic schools was commendable.
“All parents, educationists, learners and advocates must support the initiative so as to tame the alarming rise of immorality amongst the youth in the state. MURIC is one of the front-line advocates for the removal of all obscene teaching aids from the country’s educational system.
“Nigerians are aware that in the last 20 years, classical English literature books and novels such as Macbeth, Merchant of Venice and Things Fall Apart, among others, have been removed from our school curricula. Unfortunately, these books have been replaced with sex-related local English literature and other science books containing lewd and pernicious matters to give the unsuspecting young school pupils the wrong impression that self-control is unnecessary,’ the statement reads.
He added that the prohibition of the use of these offensive textbooks must be backed by appropriate legislation to provide a legal framework to sanction any erring school authority for effective implementation of government’s directive.
“The Office of the Special Advisor on Private and Voluntary Institutions and Kano Educational Resource Department (KERD) must be well equipped to ensure strict compliance. We also call on other state governments to emulate Kano State by reviewing and removing all lewd and pernicious teaching materials from their various basic education curriculums,” the statement concluded.
Parents in dilemma
Many parents have expressed their happiness on the development but also raised concern on the issue of having to buy new text books for their wards again.
A father of five, Malam Auwalu Aliyu, said the ban was a welcome move but authorities should be more careful in approving books to be used by schools.
He added that despite succeeding in securing the state government’s action in banning the books, parents would not find it easy, considering the current economic situation in buying fresh books after the ones they have bought initially.
Another parent, Mrs Mercy Azuka said that whatever the case may be, parents would not find it easy again. “To be honest, I am beginning to doubt every school text book. I don’t know why this is happening to us,” she said.
Ministry moves to strengthen monitoring and supervision units
The state Ministry of Education, which is the supervising body of the Kano Educational Resource Department (KERD) saddled with the responsibility of approving books for schools stated that banning these books was one of the things the ministry had done to restore the glory of the educational sector in the state.
The ministry’s public relations officer, Malam Balarabe Abdullahi Kiru, told our correspondent that they had already taken a major step to strengthen its monitoring and supervision unit to put more efforts in supervising whatever the schools doe.
Educationist calls for proper scrutiny before approval
Similarly, the Kano State coordinator of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (SCACEFA), Dr Auwal Halilu, said what happened was a clear indication of laxity in the sector. He added that whatever kind of book that was approved, either by the national body or the state ought to be adequately screened. He called for an effective revival of all monitoring units at both the ministry and KERD to avert such incidents.