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Issues In The News, Transformation Agenda

Sokoto: Two months after, how the almajiri school operates

Ukashatu who is the class monitor of one of the two arms of class one, exhibit confidence as he spoke to Weekly Trust on the school.
 
“I am happy that I am here .I am very happy with what I am learning and I am happy that they are teaching us English language” he stated with excitement and thrill as he lists out what he now knows in English language.”I know this is a book, this is a mat, this is a kettle, and this is an eye, onion”.
 
Ukashatu who hails from Illella local government area of Sokoto State, is one of the 50 pupils at the school. He said he was one of the almajiris who roam about in his locality before he was selected by the Education Secretary of the area for enrolment at the almajiri model school.

Weekly Trust was at the model almajiri school launched by President Goodluck Jonathan two months ago and brings you how far the two-class of 50 pupils is faring
“I want to be governor”, says ten-year old Ukashatu Abubakar, a pupil at the recently launched Tsangaya Almajiri model boarding school in Sokoto.
The almajiri model school is a combination of conventional primary education and traditional Quranic learning method. The school located at Gagi, Sokoto South local government area of the state was commissioned by President Good luck Jonathan on Tuesday April 10 this year.

Ukashatu who is the class monitor of one of the two arms of class one, exhibit confidence as he spoke to Weekly Trust on the school.

“I am happy that I am here .I am very happy with what I am learning and I am happy that they are teaching us English language” he stated with excitement and thrill as he lists out what he now knows in English language.”I know this is a book, this is a mat, this is a kettle, and this is an eye, onion”.

Ukashatu who hails from Illella local government area of Sokoto State, is one of the 50 pupils at the school. He said he was one of the almajiris who roam about in his locality before he was selected by the Education Secretary of the area for enrolment at the almajiri model school.

Hitherto Ukashatu was not exposed to any form of western education as it is with millions of almajiri children who are made to combine local Quranic education with begging on streets for alms.

But with the introduction of the almajiri integrated model school, it is expected that the benefitting almajris will have better prospects economically, socially, psychologically and even politically.

Ukashatu and his likes said they would not want to go back to their previous lifestyle. “I prefer my stay here because I am happy they are teaching us western and Islamic education, we are not roaming about, and they are giving us food. The food we are getting here is better,” head boy of the school, Sani Dukku, who is from Tangaza local government area, uttered.

Yet another pupil, Nasiru Saidu 13, asserted: “I am enjoying this place, I don’t want to go back.”

The almajiri model school   is equipped with Language Laboratory, classrooms, Qur’an recitation hall, clinic, vocational workshop, dormitories, dining hall and staff quarters.

For now the school is operating only two classes, 1 A and B with 25 pupils in each class.

How are the pupils coping with this new system of education?

Sani Abdulqadir, Vice Principal, Academic of the school, said “from my point of view, they are coping gradually. The difficult subjects for them since they are almajiri, are English Language and Mathematics, because they don’t have previous knowledge on them, but for the Islamiyya, they already have it.”

Sani who teaches English said, “for English Language, the pupils have learnt how to greet, they can engage in mini   conversation   with others now. They have learnt names of things among others.” He commended the way their syllabus was made, which he said has helped greatly in the teaching and learning process.

He explained that for effective teaching and easier learning, the pupils are taught using a lot of graphics and that the syllabus and books are in Hausa, while all the subjects including sciences   are also taught in Hausa language.

How do they combine both Qur’anic and western education?

The Vice Principal explained: “today for instance, we have in class 1A’s first period for Computer Science. Class 1b’s first period is Mathematics and second period we have Tajweed (Islamic grammar), in 1a and 1b Tauhid, (i.e Oneneness of Allah), third period is for Mathematics in Class 1A and Computer Science at Class 1B and so on.”

He said there are 13 teaching and nine supporting staff.

Professor Lawal Bashar, the new chairman State Universal Primary Education Board spoke about the school: “in my view, the Tsangaya school has started very well with the commissioning  ceremony by the President. It was subsequently handed over to the Sokoto State government for management. The school has all the basic facilities needed for functional learning. Personally I visited the school, I reviewed the curriculum myself, I checked their registers, I saw their lesson plans and lesson work books, I went through exercise and text books the almajiris use, I also inspected where they have their Qur’anic recitation, so I did some preliminary checks on the spot basis. Everything was impressive.”

According to him, one very striking challenge is how to synchronize the Qur’anic with the modern learning. “It is a challenge in itself, but it is surmountable. You have to have adequate skills, relevant teachers, relevant teaching materials, in order to effectively deliver on that front. Also is how do you synergize between various stages of learning. These almajiris are brought from the grassroot, they never had formal education, someone at that level is put on learning gadgets like the computer, it is really a big challenge how you use modern tools and technologies to impart knowledge on this category of students. So in my view, we have to work out the modalities. How we transcend from the level of education and understanding they are, to a greater exposure to learning which involves modern learning technology. As it were in the basic statistical theory, we have a normal distribution, there are those that have a higher IQ among them and there are slow learners also, so my assessment follows the normal distribution trend.”

The students begin their day at about 6:30 am with the local Qur’anic recitation which they had been used to. They sit on traditional mats in the recitation hall for this. By 8:00 am, they move to the dining hall for their breakfast. They take their food up to 9:00am, when assembly commences. After that, the first period starts at 9:20am.They close at 1.20 pm.

The pupils subsequently go for lunch and prayers. Between 3:30pm and 5:30pm, they go for local Qur’anic recitation after which they then engage in recreational activities. When it’s time for prayers, they observe them and thereafter watch Qur’anic recitation programmes on international TV stations such as Hudu, Iqra through satellite dish at the recitation hall. By 9:30pm, its light out and they go to bed.

According to the principal, Mal. Ubaidullahi Sheikh, the management emphasises on cleanliness. “Right now there is stiff competition   among the pupils in their dormitories on who would get the award for cleanliness.” This shows from how the beds and rooms were quite tidy.

Most of them had learnt to always keep their complete white uniforms in an appreciable state, a sharp contrast to the shabby dressing characteristics of those on the streets.

However, the major problems the school is facing include electricity and water. The school runs on generator eight hours daily- four hours during the day and four hours at night. This is unsustainable, Weekly Trust learnt.  Also, the school does not have steady source of water among others.

However, Secretary to the Sokoto State Primary Education Board, Ibrahim Dingyadi said these problems were being addressed and that at least 500 almajiri are being targeted for the school.

“I am assuring you that the governor has already approved fund for the connection of the school to the National Grid. We have already liaised with the PHCN office handling that area, we are going to purchase a transformer and other materials that will make sure that we successfully connect the school with National Grid.”

On water, he said, “there is problem of water.  Part of the memo approved by His Excellency is also to make sure that we provide borehole there and bigger overhead tanks than the ones already on ground. Also the big generator in the school is in the not covered, so we are building a house for it, in addition to erecting a local kitchen.  .”

On the school enrolment, he said “we are trying to make sure that the state implementation committee on Tsangaya education draft proposal for 500 more. The students are too few considering the structures and the amount spent on laboratories, as well as the vocational area. We want to raise to at least 500 almajiris.”

View original article here

About TransformationWatch

TransformationWatch is an online news site founded by Henry Omoregie It is focused on keeping tabs on the Transformation Agenda set out by the Nigerian leadership in the Local, State and Federal Governments. My mission is to observe, analyze and report milestones or slowdowns in promised service delivery in all the facets of governance in Nigeria (2011 and beyond). Readership is open to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria alike, regardless of Tribe, Religion or Political divide. We are all in this together

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