Senate seeks integration of Almajiri into UBE

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The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday moved to address the integration of the Almajiri into the Universal Basic Education (UBE) system.

Almajiri is a diminutive for children who school within the traditional Islamic Education system but have not of the Western styled schools.

These children resort to street begging to fend for themselves while learning Qur’anic and Islamic knowledge from their teachers. Usually, Arabic and their local languages are the mediums of instruction.

They are mostly found in Northern Nigeria and are categorised among the out-of-school children in the country.

The Senate called on the Federal Ministry of Education to intensify its sensitisation and advocacy programmes; and engagement of traditional and religious scholars on the plight of Almajiris, and the need to enroll them into the UBE system.

The call was contained in the recommendations of the report of the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) on the need to integrate Almajiri Education not the Modern System of Education in Nigeria.

Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, in her presentation observed that “the Almajiris, who are predominant in the North, constitute the larger number of out of school children roaming the streets begging for alms and food in Nigeria, and therefore are covered by the intervention policy and programmes of the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004.”

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According to the lawmaker, “the implementation of the UBEC Act, 2004 requires maximum collaborations with the State Governments and indeed the domestication of the Act through the State Legislatures.”

She noted that Nigeria had obtained $611 million dollars from the World Bank Financed Programme – Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), as a credit to specifically address the problem of Out of School Children.

The lawmaker, however, stressed that “optimal operation and implementation of the BESDA Programme as being anchored and implemented by UBEC in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and participation of key Education Agencies, require improved Federal-State-Local level Communication, coordination and collaboration to succeed.”

EduCeleb.com had reported on various efforts at integrating the Almajiri into the Western styled schooling system.

In 2018, this medium reported of efforts by the Goodluck Jonathan administration wasting away with the abandonment of the integrated Almajiri schools by state governments.

There have also been efforts to limit the prevalence of the system recently with the ban on street begging in states across Northern Nigeria.

By Nigerian laws, parents of school aged children not enrolled in school could be jailed.

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Army University bill passed

The Senate also passed a bill to give legal backing to the establishment of the Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State.

The passage of the bill followed a clause-by-clause consideration of the report of the Committee on Nigerian Army.ççç

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ali Ndume (APC – Borno South) said the Committee, while undertaking legislative work on the bill, took into consideration “areas that are in conflict with other extant laws, those that have security implication and those that are ambiguous.”

According to the lawmaker, the University with the passage of the bill into law, “would promote research and other means of advancement of knowledge and its application to military hardware and software, social, cultural, economical, scientific, and technological situations.”

He stated that the Institution would cater for the development of middle and high-level manpower in the area of technological empowerment for civilians, appreciation of military policies, logistic and strategies.

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