A history textbook intended for schools in Ghana has come under criticism from parents and an education minister for how it describes the impact of Christian missionary work in the country.
Called the History of Ghana for Basic Schools, Learners Book 4, it singles out what it claims are the negative effects of Christian missionary activities.
It says “Christianity has led to an increase in poverty” and that “Some religious doctrines brought by missionaries create a sense of fear or timidity.”
The Ghana National Association of Authors and Publishers has apologised for the book. A committee is to be set up to assess all other books in schools published by its members.
Of particular contention on the list of claims was the suggestion that “Religion is a major cause of physical conflict .. .around the world” and that “Most religious groups discriminate against women in so many ways.”
The country's deputy education minister, Ntim Fordjour, described the book as “obnoxious”, saying it had been “smuggled into the market for unsuspecting learners”.
He added “The content is appalling and misconceived” and that “Ghana is most peaceful for a reason, and the important place of religion cannot be undermined.”
But some lessons for learners might carry some sympathy beyond schools, with such claims as “Religion creates an avenue for many tricksters or charlatans to parade as men of God”.
The textbook also teaches “Many politicians in Ghana use religion as a vehicle to cause disaffection amongst people in a bid to advance their political interest.”
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (Nacca) has demanded the immediate recall of the book from the market.