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TheAlmajiri system of education has deteriorated since the coming of the colonialists despite the efforts made by the Islamic scholars and government to revive the educational system. The Almajiri system has been transformed into a mechanism for the production of jobless, traumatized and alienated large youth cohort who apparently become the target for recruitment by the insurgence leaders. There is no doubt that education is the foundation of any development in every society. It is important to every individual, and the society, at large, as good roots of Almajiri system of education are important to the growth and development of a nation. This research explores the Almajiri system of education broadly to see the effect on Almajiris. This research was carried out to examine the Almajiri system of education and how it can be useful to contribute to the development of the nation; in achieving this, this work made use of descriptive and historical method of research. Findings from this study shows that Almajiri system in the heydays was running properly in Northern Nigeria. The study therefore recommends that the Federal government of Nigeria should integrate the system into the Western education so that the recipients could learn both Almajiri education and Western education in the country. Thus, the research concludes that Almajiri system has a lot to offer for the development of the nation when managed righty and effectively.


General Introduction

1.1       Background of the Study

             It is an incontrovertible statement that education, as is acknowledged all over the world, is the key that unlocks the door of development. Knowledge serves as the pedestal on which a nation’s social cohesion and economic development depend. Education enhances the capabilities of an individual. It is a mechanism for enabling active citizenship, thus those who are denied the rights to education face the possibilities of limited chances in the future. UNESCO, for instance argues that, meaningful education as a right is a key to advancing social justice; as people who are marginalized in education face the prospect of bleak future chances which truncates their participation in social processes affecting them.1

            On that note, successive governments in Nigeria have at various times, introduced inclusive policies aimed at providing education as a fundamental right of every child. However, it is the realization of this that necessitated the Federal Government of Nigeria decision to set up the Ministerial Committee on Madrasah Education, which was inaugurated on 16th February, 2010. The survey conducted by the Committee revealed that there was a staggering more than 9million Almajiri across the country. At the submission of the committee’s report, Government set up an implementation committee on Almajiri Education Programme and charged it with the responsibility of ensuring that this more than 9million Almajiri is integrated into the UBE Programme within the shortest possible time. This therefore, led to the establishment of Almajiri model School, Schools of President Jonathan system of education in various part of the country. In recent times, Almajiri was seen as one of the serious challenges before Social Scientists in Nigeria and perhaps some of the ruling elite in northern part of Nigeria. This is because large number of out of school children is a threat not only to social cohesion but also to active citizenship. It breeds social exclusion and anti-social tendencies amongst youths and adult there by making it difficult for the attainment of Education for all (EFA) and the Millenium Development Goals(MDGs) and other international conventions and protocols. Its practice in the northern region has affected government priorities.2

            Almajiri system of education is a form of discipleship or religious training whereby a young child, usually less than 15 years old, is sent to another part of the village, town or country to learn about Islam. Without food, school fees, boarding materials, etc. He is to cater for himself by begging in streets. This practice has been entwined with people’s way of life over a thousand years and had played a pivotal role in the transmission of moral and religious values, as well as discipline and enhanced literacy level and cognitive development of the people, but responsible for the low socio-economic development of the region. To the extent that recently, many people have through print and electronic media expression displeasure at the concept of almajiri system in the northern region. The problems it generated from the ignorance, poverty and child labour have reached an alarming rate. Studies have shown that the socio-economic and political base of Almajiri system has collapsed irrespective of the powerful cultural and religious influence of the system in the northern region.3

      Although, argued that Almajiris rarely partake in looting, killing and burning of properties during social disturbances, the fact remains that they have been found participating in protest marches and rallies organized forpolitical and religious purpose. For instance the maitatsine uprising in 1980 got its backing mostly from Almajiri in Kano, Gombe,Yola and Maiduguri. The implication of the above is that, the economic development of the region has been adversely affected due to the rampant situation of Almajiri syndrome in northern Nigeria. It therefore negates the drive towards development. Rather than developing the capacities of children, the practice subjects them to neglect,abuse and exposes them to lurking impoverishment. The challenge now goes beyond comprehending what is happening to these children or developing appropriate policies that can lead to resolution of the problem. It is beginning to affect the teachings of Islam as people now ask whether Almajiri is part ofIslam or just a product of socio-economic transformation of societal practices in the traditional education system. The Almajiri on one hand will keep moving into the urban centreswith the hopeof continuing his traditional role of providing an avenue for almsgiving. On the other hand, the western-oriented urban dwellers will keep feeling that Almajiri has no place in the modern areas.4

            Many individuals believe that with proper efforts from the government as well as citizenry, these children could be taken out of their present socio-economic and cultural degeneration in the process of their search for Qur’an education.5 It is against this background that this study intends to find out the causes and assess whether Almajiri system of education is efficient in the production of knowledge and skills,hence, capable of meeting the educational needs of the teeming young people it enrolls under the present economic transformation.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In recent times, the prevalence and ugly sights of Almajiris in tattered clothes, bowl-in-hand, soliciting for food and alms in the streets of our major urban centers constitutes a source of concern to governments and the citizenry. It reveals that there is a high occurrence of out-of-school children in Nigeria estimated at 10.5 and Almajiris makeup over 9 million of this number. These children are concentrated mainly in the northern part of Nigeria. Bringing up these children to be “Manicurists” or “Shoe-shiners” or “Water-vendors” could constitute a serious national security problem and a threat to social cohesion and active citizenship. With the spate of sectarian crises that bedeviled the northern region in the last few years, there is the apprehension that this sorely neglected section of our young population, if left uncontrolled, could be dragged into these crises.

            In  the social sphere their limitless movements and interactions exposes them, and in many cases gets them induced in a number of social vices, they easily come across various kinds of dangerous juvenile and adolescent peers. Indeed they come across all sorts of people and experiences in the society the good, the bad and the ugly. As juveniles, they can hardly discern right from the wrong, especially if they see people that are assured committing them. Despite the constitutional responsibilities of the government and huge financial contribution from the international communities, the incidence ofAlmajiri syndrome is on the increase. Many studies have been carried out by different scholars to investigate the root causes of Almajirici and the need to address it. For instance, Sule-Kano and Abdulkadirbut the gap is still unfilled. This study therefore, intends to investigate into the Almajirisystem of education, its implication for national development.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The main objective of study is to assess the Almajirisystem of education: implication for national development

The specific objectives of the study are:

1.      To determine the major causes of Almajiri system of education in Nigeria.

2.      To traced the beginning of Almajiri system of education in Nigeria.

3.      To determine the relationship between Almajiri system of education and implication for national development.

4.      To identify the indicators that can be measured which contribute to national development through Almajiri system of education.

5.      To identify the employment potentials of Almajiri system of education in the country.

6.      To make appropriate recommendations on the problems of Almajiri school system in the nation.

7.      To examine the adequacy of the Almajirischools curriculum.

8.      To determine the challenges and prospects of the system

9.      To identify the strategies for improvement

1.4        Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of this research work tends to investigate the Almajiri system of education: its implication for national development. It also draws a parallel from Islamic education. This is to facilitate in-depth and coverage of the research work. It focuses on the following outlines:

        i.            General introduction

      ii.            Almajiri system of education

    iii.            Implication for national development

1.5       Significance of the Study

This research work is of great significance in the following ways

1.      It will be of immense benefit and value not only to academia but it will provide firsthand information to public administrators and the community especially in initiating more pragmatic policies in the future.

2.      It will also serve as a repertoire of knowledge and source of information to policy makers, ministry of education as well as stakeholders in the northern region to develop a pragmatic approach to the development of the region.

3.      In terms of its empirical significance, the data collected from this research will serve or provide a basis to counter non-empirical data or assertion about what Almajiri represents.

4.      The study will make necessary suggestions for the improved welfare of the Almajiris, who will also enlightened on conventional system of education that will operate side by side with the Qur’an schools through integration approach.

5.      It will make necessary suggestions to introduce and sustain standard guidelines similar to the conventional school system and erecting structures at Qur’anic schools to serve as classes and hostels.

6.      This study would help contribute to the existing body of knowledge on Almajiri system of education and how it directly affects the lives of people in Nigeria.

7.      This research work will serve as a catalyst and frontline knowledge to an upcoming research who might want to carry out similar study, also as a source and reference material.

1.6       Research Methodology

         In the course of this research work, the method of research has been adopted. It makes use of the secondary sources of information such as journals, textbooks, published and unpublished scholarly materials which are relevant to the research work. Source of information and data is also gathered from the internet, dictionary, Holy Qur’an.

1.7       Organization of the Study

            This research work is for the purpose of easy referencing and consultation is organized in five chapters; Chapter One contains the General Introduction, Chapter Two deals with the Review of Related Literature, Chapter Three discusses the Almajiri System of Education, Chapter Four deals with The Almajiri System of Education and Implication Development, and Chapter basically comprises of the Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations.

1.8       Definition of Terms

1.8.1 Almajiri: Traditional Qur’anic education pupils.6

1.8.2 Alaramma/Alaramoni: A Qur’anic teacher who has committed to the entire Qur’an into memory and write it.7

1.8.3 Bara: The act of begging by traditional Qur’anic education pupil.8

1.8.4 Almajiri/Almajiranci: Traditional system of acquiring Qur’anic education.9

1.8.5 MakarantarAllo: Traditional Qur’anic schools.10

1.8.6 Mallam/Mallami: Qur’anic teacher.11

1.8.7 Islamiyyah: Modern school for Islamic education.12

1.8.8: Tsangaya: Traditional Qur’anic boarding school.13

1.8.9: Development: According to the context of this research work, development is the action or process of developing or being developed, a new stage or event.14


1UNESCO “World Conference on Education for All. Meeting Basic Learning Needs. Final Report”, pp. 1-   90. New York. U.S.A: Inter-Agency Commission (UNDO, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank). Accessed 2ndNov., 2017.

2L. Ibrahim, “9.5 Million Almajiri Children Out of School” The Nigerian Com-pass, Accessed  14th Jan., 2018 http://www.compass index. php/component/content/article/35-headlines/2417-95-million-almajiri-children-out-of-schools, 2012.

3Sule-Kano Abdullahi, “TheAlmajiri Phenomenon: A Study of the Youth in Traditional Qur’anic Scholarship in Northern Nigeria”Unpublished report of a study on the conditions of Almajiria in Northern Nigeria, sponsored by John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur foundation.

4K. Ya’uk,“Almajiri School System in Northern Nigeria” Paper presented at Conference organized by Qur’anic Education Review committee, Katsina 2001.

5UBEC “Ministerial Presentation to National Economic Council by National Implementation       Committee on Almajiri”, pp. 1-11. Abuja: Universal Basic Education Commission, 2010.

6A.Indabawa Sabo,“Overcoming destitution through literacy: ACase of the disabled persons’ literacy programme in Kano State, Nigeria”. Journal of Social Development in Africa 2000.  15 (1): 15-25

7A.Babs Fafunwa,History of Education in Nigeria. (Ibadan: NPS Educational Publishers Limited) 1974.

8Salisu Shehu, “Improving Qur’anic(Tsangaya) Education in Nigeria: Trends, Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward” A Lead paper presented at a three-day Worshop on Tsangaya System of Education - organized Borno State Agency for Mass Education, Maiduguri 2nd-5th May, 2016.

9L. A. SDambuzu, Origin of Almajiri education system. Retrieved from http:my.opera .com/   Dambz/block//. Accessed on 18th Jan., 2018.

10U. Abdulkadir, “The Situation of the Almajirai Education Today”The Daily Triumph, March 28, 2008.

11Bobboyi Hamid,The Impact of Colonialism and Western Education on the Almajirici system. (Islamic Trust of Nigeria) 2007.

12Khalid Sulaiman,“Socio-Economic Study of Transormation of Migrant Qur’anic Schools System (Almajiranci) in Sokoto Metropolis” (1970-1975). Unpublished thesis submitted to the Postgraduate School Bayero University Kano, for the Award of Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology,1997.

13Iguda Sani,Tsangaya Education in Focus: Conceptual Approaches and Policies of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau towards a Better Qur’anic Education. (Kano: Kano Printing Press) 2006.

14AS Hornby, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (5th ed.).(New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.318.

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