History will forever remain kind to President Goodluck Jonathan for Introducing the Almajiri school system. This system of education is the federal government’s way of intervening in the menace of street begging by school-age children,The Universal Basic Education Commission has said the establishment of Tsangaya Model Schools in the northern part of the country by the Federal Government is a deliberate effort to deal with the menace of Almajiri phenomenon in the region.
A statement on Wednesday in Abuja by the Public Relations Officer of UBEC, Mr David Apeh, quoted the Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr. Dikko Suleiman, as saying the establishment of Tsangaya Schools, initially called Almajiri Model Schools, in the North had significantly improved the life style of the children in the North.
According to recent reports, there is over 10.5 million Nigerian school-age children that are out of school, with the large number of these children coming from the North.
A majority of these out-of-school children in the North are the Almajiris, commonly found on the streets and highways, begging for alms and food.
Suleiman, according to Apeh, spoke while inspecting some projects at the Government Girls Junior Secondary School in Shema, Dutsin-ma LGA and Government Girls Junior Secondary School, Dutsin-Safe in Kaita LGA of Katsina State.
The Federal Government, under President Goodluck Jonathan, had established over 125 Almajiri Model Schools in 13 states of the North, constructed by both the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and UBEC.
Suleiman said the Tsangaya Model Schools, among other things, would ensure the integration of the elements of basic education into the Qur’anic school system, where pupils are imparted with knowledge and skills beyond Qur’anic recitation.
He explained further that this would enable them to integrate effectively into the Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education programme.
The UBEC boss commended Jonathan for giving priority to education as encapsulated in his transformation agenda and improved funding for the sector.
The Executive Secretary said the Boy-Child Education was aimed at integrating the out-of-school boys in the South-East and South-South geo- political zone into the UBE programme.
In Sokoto, being the traditional tool of Islam in Nigeria, two Almajiri schools exist, with one built by the governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko-led administration at Denge Shuni local government area and the other built by the federal government at Gagi in Sokoto South local government and named Almajiri Model Boarding School. The school according to its principal, Mallam Ubaidullahi Shehu has a total of 15 staff members, 216 students, 12 classrooms, six blocks of hostels with 12 rooms, and in all having about 20 to 25 students per room.
Zamfara State, which is said to have one of the highest population of Almajiri, is evidently enjoying the educational project, as the state has 4,331 students in the school, according to a 2012 report; with teaching staff members numbering over a hundred. According to the desk officer at the state UBEB, Mallam Lawali Balarabe Gurbi, a total of seven Tsangaya schools are present in the state, and four of them are fully completed. He explained that the schools are spread across some local government areas.