A total of 35,652 pupils are currently studying in 399 modern Almajiri schools in Kaduna, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kano States, a check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reveals.
NAN gathered that among the schools were those built by the Federal Government in 2014, while the rest were constructed by states and individuals.
Funding for the running of the schools is now wholly the responsibilities of the various state governments who recruit personnel, feed students, provide teaching aids and other logistics to the schools.
In Kebb, 1,129 pupils are currently studying in the six Tsangaya schools located in four local government areas of the state.
The Desk Officer for Tsangaya/Almajiri schools at the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Shehu Mashayabo, said all the schools are operating fully.
“The schools are Government Residential Area Model School, Tudun Wada, Gwadangaji Day Primary School and Tarasa Model Primary School, all in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area.
“Others are, Argungu Day Primary School in Argungu Local Government Area, Dakingari Model School in Suru Local Government Area and Koko Primary School in Koko/Besse Local Government Area.’’
According to him, the state government has expended N30 million to revive the schools this year and has recruited over 96 professional teachers and 100 supporting staff for the six schools.
“The Federal Government only built the schools in 2014 but furnishing the schools, provision of books and feeding of the pupils is done by the state government,’’ Maishanu said.
In Kano, investigation reveals that a board has been created to run the Tsangaya schools, with Sheikh Yahuza Gwani Dan-Zarga as Executive Chairman.
Dan-Zarga told NAN that the board runs 12 Tsangaya schools, ten of which were built by the Federal Government and two by the state, with a total of 1,700 pupils.
“There are 1, 300 boys and 400 girls enrolled in such schools from primary one to six, and 10 of the schools have boarding facilities.
“The Federal Government is not funding the system for now. The free feeding, uniform, books and school fees are all being taken care of by the state government and it has been effective,” he added.
The Executive Chairman however advised that the Federal Government should make provision for fund that would be utilized in supporting the schools, as well as construct more of such schools to absorb additional pupils.
Other Muslim clerics in Kano also called for expansion of the Tsangaya system of education in the state to reduce the number of almajiris roaming the street.
Sheikh Gwani Ladan of Hotoro said the system, if strengthened, would reduce some of the challenges in the system and ensure provision of quality education to the pupils.
Another teacher, Malam Bala Adamu of Babba Giji area of Kano expressed satisfaction with the programme, but noted that the number of such schools in the state was inadequate.
In Kaduna, the State Universal Basic Education Board has registered 238 Almajiri schools, with a total enrolment of 14,629 pupils.
A visit to one of the schools located on Kaduna-Zaria expressway at Maraban Gwanda, Sabongari-Zaria, indicated that it was reopened in March, after it was shut down for two years by the state government.
“The school was shut down two years ago due to non supply of food to feed the boarding students.
“ It was reopened in March and has commenced full academic activities but for now, the pupils are on third term break, hoping to resume in September,” a staff told NAN in confidence.
The school is one of those constructed by the Federal Government in 2014.
However, Malam Mohammed Rabiu, Desk Officer, Almajiri Education Programme, SUBEB, said currently, the state government shoulders complete responsibilities of running the schools, except for teacher training, which is being supported by UBEC.
The official explained that three of the schools were boarding, six semi boarding, 35 Pilot Qur’anic schools, two Day Tsangaya schools and 192 Tsangaya Qur’anic Integrated Education schools.
He explained that under the system, the Almajiris have equal access to basic education, based on the curriculum designed by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
Rabiu added that those that completed the schools are placed into the Almajiri boarding and semi boarding schools for their secondary education.
According to him, the Federal Government built two out of the three boarding schools and the six semi boarding schools in 2014.
Rabiu also said that the 192 Tsangaya Qur’anic Integrated Education schools in the state were set up by the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN).
“ESSPIN established the schools, recruited, trained and paid volunteer teachers stipends to teach in the schools from 2012 up to 2016, when the ESSPIN programme ended.
“We are currently going round the schools to ascertain the level of operations so we can make recommendations on the best way forward.
“This is because since ESSPIN came to a close, there was no form of funding from any quarters to support the schools.
“Moreover, most of the volunteer teachers have been recruited as primary school teachers in the last recruitment of teachers for public primary schools by the Kaduna State Government,” Rabiu said.
Reports from Zamfara indicate that the state has 13 Modern Almajiri Integrated Schools, 10 constructed by the Federal Government and three by the state.
The Desk Officer in charge of Almajiri Schools at the State Universal Basic Education Board, Malam Lawali Gurbi, said the schools are located in Jangebe, Danmarke Tungar Fulani, Dankurmi, Abarma, Tsunami,,Gusau, Kaura Namoda, Bakura and Maradun.
“Two of the schools at Talata Mafara and Gusau have been converted to boys and girls command secondary schools respectively, and the one at Damba area of Gusau is now a conventional Girls Secondary School,’’ Gurbi said.
He added that those enrolled in all the schools receive education up to basic education level.
A teacher at Sheikh Balarabe Zawiyya Almajiri Integrated Model School Gusau, Malam Kabiru Umar, said the students are taught both Islamic and Western education, and the teachers are employees of the state government.
NAN also reports that another comprehensive Almajiri schools managed by an individual teaches purely Islamic knowledge.