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1.1         Background to the Study

The widespread belief that adult literacy is a panacea for human development has been justified in a variety of instances. The rapid economic development recorded after the 1930s economic depression and after the massive destruction occasioned by the Second World War after 1945 in North America, and Western Europe respectively, has been found to be principally due to human resources input other than any other factors. Prior to the Second World War, it was believed that only physical resources (capital) were responsible for rapid growth of some western nations of Europe. However, the post war experience of the war ravaged nations of Europe and their quick recovery suggested that there could be other factors than capital that hastened the recovery. Investigations disclosed that human skills available accounted for the variation in the economic growth and that the labour force requires adequate training for it to contribute effectively to the rapid growth. The revelation led to the “human capital revolution” and the recommendation to the newly independent countries that they should invest a substantial amount of their resources in the education of their citizens, if they are to grow rapidly after attaining their independence.

The Baha’i movement, a global non-sectarian spiritual movement that has been involved in literacy activities in a variety of ways with remarkable success in both the developed and developing nations such as Bolivia, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Ghana, Guyana, Philippines, Russia and even USA discovered that literacy without which high levels of abstract thought and insight are impossible is fundamental to both individuals


and the society. This is because literacy makes possible, the achievement of intellectual and social development. It is also a respiratory to humanity’s accumulated knowledge and a building block for innovation, creativity, social and economic development of any kind. It is essential to collective human development as not only those who cannot read and write are cut-off from their opportunity for development, but also society as a whole is deprived of the potential contributions individuals can make for the good of all.

Even though historians agreed that, Islam and literacy development came into Hausa land as far back as 15th century, written account on literacy development in the area under study has been scanty. It was for this reason that oral account from those who should know in the area was adopted:

The first oral account of literacy development in the area sought by the researcher was from Mallam Ahmadu Maishanu an aged ex-adult literacy instructor who claimed to be eighty (80) years old (he died in November 2010) who gave an account that agreed with what is in the books that the colonial masters took the issue of literacy serious around 1945 after second world war. Below is the English language translation of his narration made in Hausa language:

“Yes, it was around 1945 when our first elementary school was established even though it lasted for only about five or six years. Mallam Abdullahi Maiyama was the first teacher, followed by Mallam Ibro Gumbi and later Mallam Abdullahi’s assistant, Mallam Balarabe Sokoto.

Immediately our elementary school was opened and classes started, Waziri Abbas (immediate predecessor to Waziri Junaidu) came as the representative of the Sultan along with Sarkin Rafin Gumbi, Umaru Giris (District Head of Gumbi) during the reign of


Magajin Kasarawa Jibo (Village Head of Kasarawa), to launch what was then called “Development School” with the primary aim of making adults literate. They came along with some white men including the D.O (District Officer), ADO (Assistant District Officer), Mairakuma (Education Officer) and Baturen Gona (the Agricultural Officer) whose station was here in Kasarawa at ‘Gandun Bature” (Agricultural staff Quarters).

Fourteen adults who were mostly princes of Kasarawa and those close to “Masarauta” (royal class) were enlisted in the development school that was using the same premises of the elementary school in the evenings after the elementary might had closed for the day. The elementary school teacher and Magaji Jibo were our teachers. I was about 16 years old and the youngest in the class. Some of the important personalities talked to us in turn, but the one I can remember vividly was Sarkin Rafi Umaru’s piece of advice “wannan karatu ku doke shi da muhimmanci saboda ilmul sana’at ne (you should take this programme serious as it prepares you for earning a living)”. The curriculum was writing, reading in Hausa and some arithmetic and such schools were established at various villages and towns of the then Sokoto native authority”.

Since 1945, various literacy development efforts have been made. The late Premier of the defunct Northern Region, Ahmadu Bello the Sardauna of Sokoto tried to borrow a leaf from his great grandfather’s (Shehu Usman Danfodio) earlier work, immediately after independence (early 1960s) by converting Koranic schools owned and run by individual Mallams into Islamiyya schools and providing large quantity of Arabic literature and placing the existing Mallams and newly recruited ones on remunerative appointments. These Islamiyya schools were established throughout the towns and villages of the defunct Northern Region.


The establishment of these Islamiyya schools was not an easy effort as it met with a lot of challenges from both the people that were supposed to benefit from it on one hand and those non-Muslims on the other hand who saw the establishment of these Islamiyya schools as a gradual process of Islamizing the whole region. Recalling this period, a prominent Islamic scholar in the area, Liman (Imam) Muhammad Dan-Ruke of Kasarawa village in Wamakko Local Government Area, narrated this in Hausa language, translated into English language as:

“When Sardauna introduced Islamiyya schools both the teachers and the parents viewed them with suspicion and were therefore reluctant about participating and sending their children respectively. The mere fact that teachers were to be paid salaries was viewed as exposing them to indulging into “haram” (prohibition by Islamic Law). To the parents it was viewed as a trick to enlist their children into “Makarantar boko” (Western Education Schools), which were at the time viewed with great suspicion of inculcating western culture into their children, that would put them off the track of the Islamic way of life”.

It was therefore no wonder after the demise of the Sardauna in 1966, most of the established Islamiyya schools reverted to “Makarantun allo” (indigenous Koranic schools), even though the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI) an Islamic body ran by a combination of traditional institutions and the government of the day made efforts to revive the Islamiyya schools, the effort was not enough as both the people and the governments later decided to give more support to western system of education than these Islamiyya schools.


It is in view of the above observations that this research tries to make an assessment of the impact of adult literacy development programmes in the various villages of Gumbi District in Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State. This will be done by conducting a survey of educated persons in the villages who occupy the upper stratum of the educational, social, economic and political development of the District and try to observe whether or not they came from families that have had that advantage of early acquisition of adult literacy. Also opinion of the stakeholders of adult literacy development will be sought.

1.2         Statement of Problem

The problem of this research arose as a result of a casual and chance observation made in Kasarawa village of the District, that most of the educated persons in the village came from families whose heads (grandparents and/or parents) had the advantage of acquiring adult literacy at various times, right from pre-independence days through early independence and later independence days. Based on this casual and chance observation, it occurred to the researcher that it would be worthwhile to make detailed investigation in the village and other remaining villages to find out whether this casual observation could be established and generalized in all the villages. The statement of the problem was therefore formulated as:

To confirm that the majority of today’s educated persons in the ten main villages of Gumbi District are descendants of people who had early adult literacy. As these educated people occupy the top stratum of educational, economic, social and political

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