Education experts are worried about some claims made in a book titled “History of Ghana for Basic Schools,” targeted towards basic four pupils and reportedly approved by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).
The authors of the book are Francis Benjamin Appiah and Henry David Appiah.
The book claimed Christianity and religion, in general, have been the cause of poverty in Ghana and in Africa as a whole.
It cited fear and discrimination against women as products of religion and claimed that Christianity is responsible for the high level of poverty in Ghana and in Africa as a whole.
Negative effects of Christian missionary activities:
- Religion is a major cause of physical conflict and doctrinal disputes in Ghana and the world as a whole.
- Christianity has led to an increase in poverty. There’s a direct link between religion and laziness which contributes to poverty in Ghana and Africa as a whole.
- Religion makes people lackadaisical in their attitude towards finding practical ways to improve their undesirable living conditions.
- Some religious doctrines brought by missionaries create a sense of fear or timidity in their adherence.
Religion creates an avenue for many tricksters or charlatans to parade as men of God to please the poor with their meagre resources.
- Most religious groups discriminate against women in so many ways.
- Many politicians in Ghana use religion as a vehicle to cause disaffection amongst people in a bid to advance their political interest,” the book indicated.
The book also noted that religion in Ghana does not encourage creativity, invention or critical thinking because of its “conservative or static nature.”
In response to the claims, the Programmes Manager of Education Watch, Divine Kpeh told JoyNews’ AM Show, that some of the claims in the book are inaccurate.
He said the accuracy of content is one of the criteria considered when approving books, therefore, he expressed worry that the book was approved by the NaCCA.
According to Divine, contrary to the claim that religion is a major cause of physical conflict and doctrinal dispute, Ghana is touted as one of the most peaceful countries due to religion.
He added that the claim that religion has a direct link with poverty is also not factual.
Divine indicated that NaCCA has done a poor job in approving the book and that the authors themselves were also not diligent in their work.
Also speaking on the show, the Executive Director of the Institute for Education Studies, Dr Peter Anti lamented that those responsible for the review of the book, especially the chapter in which the above claims were made did not do a thorough job.
According to him, although the title of the chapter said “Negative effects of Christian missionaries,” the argument swayed towards religion in general.
This, he said spells a lack of understanding on the part of both the authors and the reviewers.
“If you look at the heading, it is negative effects of Christian missionaries, then the content talks about religion. That means that the people who were writing this book really didn’t have an understanding of what they were talking about,” he said.
Furthermore, the expert expressed worry about the targeted level of the book.
He argued that pupils of primary four do not have the cognitive ability to discuss the topic. Hence it would have been prudent if the target level was the Junior or Senior High School.
He added that the claims made in the book are more subjective submissions rather than objective.
Meanwhile, although the book has a “NaCCA approved” inscription on it, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Education, Yaw Opoku Mensah said a supposed originally approved version of the book does not have the contents being referred to.
He explained that the complaints made are feedback they are getting.
Mr Mensah says the authorities are putting in mechanisms to get rid of the book in schools and make sure the approved one is being used.
However, the experts say those responsible for the book with the inaccurate claims must be punished.