By Bukola Hameed
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum on Wednesday inaugurated a 14-Member Committee which he gave 30 days to develop an action plan for reformation of ‘Tsangaya (another name for ‘almajiri’) system of traditional Islamic education in Borno state.
Khalifa Aliyu Ahmad Abdulfatahi, a famous cleric and leader chairs Zulum’s reform committee. Sheikh Abdulfatahi’s vast majority of followers include operators, teachers and students of numerous tsangaya schools, making his choice ‘a squared peg in a squared hole’.
Borno, given its more than 1,000 years of scholarly Islamic history, is amongst northern Nigerian states with the highest number of ‘tsangaya’ young pupils and adult students under diverse clerics particularly in Maiduguri, and other parts of the state.
Reforming the ‘tsangaya’ system of education is key component of a 25-year Development Plan his administration came up with, which was launched last Saturday with strategies for immediate, medium and long term transformational goals, Zulum said during the inauguration.
The Governor informed the 14-member committee that their task is to generate and provide statistical information on number of ‘Tsangaya’ schools and their locations; comprehensive data on students enrollment and number of teachers in each of the schools. The committee will also trace and identify statuses of the schools in relation to capacity to accommodate, feed, cloth and cater for the medical well being of students, particularly children.
Zulum said findings by the committee are expected to include far reaching recommendation on how effective measures can be applied to end decades of street begging and the abuse of children regarded as ‘almajiris’ mostly roaming. Such measures, the governor noted, would require the sensitization and mobilization of all stakeholders to key into the reforms.
The Governor charged, that the recommendation should have short, medium and long term framework on that will lead to standardization of tsangaya schools with improved curricular.
Zulum directed the committee to liaise with the State’s Ministry of Education in the discharge of it’s responsibilities.
Khalifa Aliyu Ahmad Abdulfathi, on behalf of his 13 other members, thanked governor for the Zulum for trusting them with task and promised they will not disappoint government and people of Borno in the discharge of their assignment.
The committee include notable Islamic scholars: Sheikh Muhammad Mustapha, Sheikh Tijjani Umara, Prof. Abdu-Kareem Ishaq, Dr Abba Bashir, Prof. Yakubu Yunusa, Goni Kolo, Goni Lawan and Hassan Abdullahi, while the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Education, Alhaji Ali kaka, serves as the committee’s secretary.
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