The history of Nigeria is replete with instances of violent conflict between Christians and Muslims. Some scholars attribute the continuance of the crisis to a failed educational system, which lacks the ability to provide adequate formation for Christian and Muslim students that would enable them to appreciate religious traditions other than their own. Consequently, some studies have suggested the need for a paradigm shift in the education curriculum to enable religious education to meet the needs of Nigeria’s pluralistic context. However, not much has been done in terms of a critical examination of the Christian and Muslim religious education textbooks and how they present their religious traditions and that of others. This dissertation, therefore, explores how religious education textbooks in Junior High Schools can be used to promote integration and dialogue in Nigeria.
The dissertation analyzes the religious textbooks used in teaching Islam and Christianity in Nigeria. It pays attention to how students are formed in their own religious traditions and how they are prepared to interact with people of other religious traditions. It demonstrates that the current religious education textbooks are inadequate in promoting integration among students of different faith traditions. The dissertation also examines the textbooks used for religious instructions in Junior High Schools in Ghana. It juxtaposes the content of the religious education textbooks in Ghana and in Nigeria, and argues that unlike the religious education textbooks in Nigeria, the religious education textbooks in Ghana use religious education to form students to respect diverse religious beliefs and practices and promote integration. Further, the dissertation uses Perry Schmidt Leukel’s concept of religious pluralism to construct an inclusive religious textbook that would promote early integration that is vital to mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims. It also opines that for interreligious education to be effective, Christian and Muslim students must study in the same space. It notes the following as important topics that must be treated in interreligious education textbooks: formation of students in their faith traditions; formation in intra-religious and interreligious diversity aimed at promoting respect for the other, formation in human rights and the need for peaceful coexistence.