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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Hausa word Almajiri (Plural Almajirai) is derived from the Arabic Almajiri (Plural Almuhajirun) which means one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) who accompanied him from Mecca to Medinah during his Hijira (Migration). The Arabic word Al-muhajir, therefore had a special religious connotation in the early period in Islam. It meant a scholar who migrated from his home to another community in search of knowledge. Up to date a pupil undergoing Islamic Religious training is called Almajiri in the Hausa language, hence the Almajiri system of education. The schools are found mostly in the Northern parts of Nigeria with just a few in the southern part of the country. (Fafunwa, 1975),
This schools system is organized by individuals who have either been requested by community to teach pupils or have voluntarily decided to establish the schools on their own. This is in line with the Islamic injuction that “The best man among you is one who teams the Qur'an and cares to teach" (Fafunwa, 1975), It follow then that individuals whom organize Qur'anic schools do so as
service to Islam such individuals teach for charity, and live on occasional donations in cash or kind from pupils Parents and other sympathizer.
As one establishes such a school, the tendency is to solicit for and admit young children from far and near for the purpose of teaching them Islamic Education, As there are no formalized conditions for joining this type of school, the children are simply handed over to the Mallam by parents. There is no limit to the number of pupils a Mallam could accept in his school. Through pre-survey discussions with some Mallams, it was revealed that one way of earning prestige is for a Mallam to have many Almajirai. The number of pupils also determines the quantity of Zakkah given to him. A Mallam’s prestige may be one of the reasons why some parents insist on sending their children to a particular Mallam (Muhammad, 2000).
Due to the flexibility of the system, pupils go at their own individual paces in the learning process. There is no regimented system of enrolment and promotion, pupils can be admitted even at the age of four years, when the teacher has gathered enough pupils, he sets out to a Rural or Urban settlement to took for a place to settle among a Muslim community. The host community will provide shelter for him and his
pupils. But the sedentary Mallams who establish such school leave in their home without moving with their pupils such schools will admit day students and boarders the sedentary Mallams provide accommodation for the boarding students. Such Mallams may also provide accommodation for the itinerant Mallam and their pupils (Adamu, 2000).
Ado (1997) notes that unlike what was obtained in the past when accommodation £ was provided for the itinerant Mallam and their pupils under the present dispensation, no proper arrangement are made for accommodation for them. The pupils are usually accommodated in over-crowed place called Zaure (Plural Zaurukka) these served dual purposes of being class room and dormitories, pupils sleep on the floor or anywhere within the vicinity of the schools. The Mallam is accommodated inside the compound.
Both the itinerant teacher and the pupils depend on charity for feeding from the community, in the past the host community fed the entire schools by sending meals as Sadaka (alms). But today, the Almajirai go from house to house begging for food. Sometimes they take part of the food or money they are given to the Mallams. Ado (1997) The Almajiri phenomenon has become a common feature among Hausa
Muslims communities in Northern Nigeria as Shima and Daudu (1981)
.................................... a casual but observant
visitor to the Urban centres of the country, particularly in the Northern states will not miss the presence of a large number of young children, (age) between 6 and 14 in some cases (older) in market places, petrol filling stations, railway stations by department shops or on the streets generally, with or without enamel-ware boards begging for alms from shoppers vehicles owners or simply any body considered by them to be more well to - do. To those not used to the system of institutionalized begging, these children constitute a nuisance, others are considerate and given them money, while the unsympathetic dismiss them with insults.
There is no sufficient information to provide as with the exact
current figures of these children and their schools. A rough estimate of
over Ten Thousand schools for the whole of Northern Nigeria was given
by Sa'adu Zungur in 1984 (Yakubu, 1999), while Alao (2000) reported
that in 1999, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF (1999) did a
survey of Qur'anic schools in Eight Northern states and Abuja. It recorded
over 100,000 such schools with an enrollment of over two millions
pupils. What is known for certain is that the number of these young beggars keeps increasing day by day.
Generally, the Almajirai live in harsh conditions under which learning becomes extremely difficult. This phenomenon of Almajiri Education system constitutes a major menace in Nigeria, and Sokoto in particular. Therefore, this research work intends to investigate the problem and menace of the system with a view to proffer recommendations while highlighting these menaces.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The way Almajirai system of education is been practiced in the Northern part of Nigeria and more particularly Sokoto is an eyesore that need urgent attention in order to rescue the situation. The Almajiri system of education has turned its students to tools for money making for their teachers. Daudu, (1981) To fed and cloth themselves, they have to always roam about the streets public and private places, begging for money they also render services as plate washer in restaurants and even find prohibited places, which make some of the Almajirai to result to intermingling with bad people, engaging in prohibited conduct like pocket picking, stealing, or being mobilised by other peoples to promote
violence in return for money. They waste their time in other unnecessary activities instead of acquiring knowledge. These acts make them get exposed to diseases and other hazards. Shima and Dauda (1981).
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of the study is to find out the menace of Almajiri systems of education. The specific objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the menace socially, religiously and morally.
2. To enable the government in wiping out the menace.
3. To explore solutions for the menaces.
4. To identity from Mallams and Muslim communities on how to devise viable ways of importing the required Islamic education to the youth that would not subject the pupils to the hardship as currently experienced in the almajiri system of education.
5. Paved way for subsequent researching on the topic.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this study to the wider society cannot be over emphasized. The study will be beneficial in the following ways:
1. It will enlighten policy maker to formulate reaslistic polices on Almajiri
2. It is hope that the findings of this study will prompt the government and the general public to initiate action that will provide a lasting solution to the problems associated with the Almajiri system of education.
3. It will be of great importance for other researchers
4. The study will add to the exist literature on the subject as well as a guide to other researchers conducting similar research work on Almajiri system of education.
For the purpose of this study the following hypothesis were formulated:
1. There is no significant relationship between Amajiri and Islamic teachings.
2. There is no significant relationship between conducive environment in the school for teaching and learning processes.
3. There is no qualified teacher in the process of teaching and learning
4. There is qualified teachers in the first teaching and learning
5. There is no significant relationship between cultural, and social factor that perpetuate Almajiri system of education.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY.
The study is carried out in Sokoto metropolis due to its large concentration of Almajiri schools which is adequate to give a representative sample. Also, due to large number of Almajiri schools spread all over Sokoto it was not possible for the researchers to reach every schools, however, the study has divided Sokoto into two and selected some schools in Sokoto south Local Government.
The limitation of the study is there is very little basic research done on menace of Almajiri system of education. The available literature focuses mainly on the descriptive analysis of the organization curricula, and the learning and living conditions in the school system. Therefore, the study has little to rely on for guidance in terms of previous research. Moreover, due to time factor, financial and other unforeseen problems, the study will be restricted to the aforementioned area.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following are the definition of key concepts used in this study:
1. Almajiri: this referred to pupils/student of traditional Qur'anic school. The plural is (Almajirai)
2. Mallam: a person that has knowledge in diverse aspects of Islam.
3. Menace: danger of Almajiri system of education.
4. Education: act or process of importing or gaining knowledge, judgment and a level of intellectual maturity.
System: orderly assemblage of fact, parts e.t.c forming a whole
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