ALL AFRICA REPORT- Formal approval is being awaited from the Ministry of Education for the reintroduction of Bible study in public schools as part of the existing Religious and Moral Education (RME) subject.
The new Biblical Studies and Moral Education (BSME) curriculum was compiled by a steering committee of the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) over the last two and a half years and is now ready to be introduced in primary and secondary schools, according to CCN general secretary Maria Kapere.
She told The Namibian that Bible study at schools was done away with in Namibia after Independence, and the main reason for this is because the Constitution classifies Namibia as a 'secular state'.
"To focus on one specific religion would have been objectionable by the other religions," she said. "Christianity is taught now, but it's more historical than theological. With the new programme, children will go deeper into what the Bible says."
She said that ever since the Bible has been left out of schools, and even though Government introduced the Religious and Moral Education subject, social decay has increased.
"Children are obliged to go to school, but are not obliged to go to church. Without them knowing it, they are being withheld from the truth written in the Bible," she said.
According to her, BSME is based on "the right of freedom of religion for Christian communities".
The Namibian Constitution guarantees "freedom to practice any religion and to manifest such practice", and "a learner at a State school or hostel has the right to practice any religion which is not against public policy."
The Namibian Institute for Educational Development (NIED), according to Kapere, accepted the "significance of the Biblical content and values infused in the BSME programme".The CCN submitted the two BSME syllabi to the government: one for primary schools and another for secondary schools.
"It was accepted in principle and referred to the Ministry of Education for formal acceptance. While private and church schools are welcome to make use of the BSME curriculum, government schools will have to wait until formal approval had been granted by the Ministry of Educatio, for BSME to be used as a programme with RME," she stated.
According to her, this might not happen this year, but maybe next year.