By Abdul Hassan
Centre for Democratic Development Research and Training (CEDDERT), Zaria and MacArthur Foundation are set to introduce a new phase of almajiri system of education in Nigeria by the end of 2023.
CEDDERT’s Director – General (D-G), Dr Abubakar Sadiquee, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the collaboration was to change the misconception on the system to tap more of its abundant benefits.
“It is also aimed at understanding what the problems are and proffer plausible solutions to the issue of almajiri education system,’’he said.
Sadiquee said that the centre and the foundation had designated some organisations that specialize in study of the Glorious Qur’an and Arabic in the Northern States to pilot the project.
“We have one in Dutsin-Ma, Katsina state, Zaria, Kaduna state, Bayero University, Kano and Yobe University, Damaturu,’’ he said.
He, however, said that the centres would provide training on other O’ level courses offered at formal Islamiyya primary and secondary schools apart from the conventional system of studies in Tsangaya schools.
“Some of the almajiri students are performing very well in the pilot project and many are already in Diploma and Degree programmes while some are currently doing Masters degrees in the universities.
“From our research, most almajiris were victims who were denied of basic amenities including access to formal education,’’ Sadiquee said.
He argued that the most almajiri students were not involved in criminal activities as some people assumed due to their religious teaching and disciplines.
“The more almajiris moved out from the frustration, the less the temptation.
“Many almajiris are living on menial jobs like nail cutting, shoe shining, selling recharge cards or laundry, except few who beg for food to survive.
”Of course, this attitude is a circumstantial problem and conditioned to the reality of the nation’s economy,’’ he said.
The D-G further said as a part of the project, the centre had constructed boreholes for some almajiri schools in Nasarawa State while some computers would soon be donated to them.
Also commenting, Project Coordinator and a Director in the centre, Prof. Mustafa Gwadabe, listed some ways to achieve effective reform progromme for Tsangaya and almajiris educational system.
“Measures must be taken which include according top priority to the system, reorganisation and shoring up funding of the system by the Muslims communities.
‘Others are joint consultations between government and stakeholders on the workable implementation strategy for the system,’’ Gwadabe said.
Other measures, he said was the establishment of almajiri education system which would be community-driven.
Gwadabe also said that the was the need for the government to establish skills acquisition centres in strategic locations to train the adult almajiri students.
“Almajiri pupils should study for a period of four years after which they will be allowed to opt out and start basic education, or proceed to advanced Qur’anic studies and to acquire some skills,” he said.
Gwadabe said the advocacy plans should go beyond Radio or TV jingles or discussions.
According to him, high powered visits should be organised to traditional rulers, community leaders and political officers at the levels of government to get more support and provide leadership to the almajiri schools in the communities.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Bashir Rabe Mani