#Almajiranci in Nigeria: Issues and Recommendations

‘#Almajiranci in Nigeria: Issues and Recommendations’

Our Tweeter chat for the month of May was hosted by Dr Hadiza Kere, @dj_kere.  She is an expert on alternative education, and her PhD thesis is based on an ethnographical research of ten individuals that passed through  (popularly referred to as Almajiri in Nigeria).

Some of the issues she addressed during the chat were:

You can read the main thread of her chat below, and for a more comprehensive discussion of the chat, you can click ‘#Almajiranci in Nigeria: Issues and Recommendations’ to visit our wakelet page of the chat.

A thread by Dr Hadiza Kere,@dj_kere, on Twitter on 12th May 2018.

Hello everyone. Thanks for joining us for this twitter chat on #Almajiranci with #StudiEdAfrica. I am going to start by doing some house keeping – QS is Qur’anic schooling and WS is western schooling. I will also answer the questions as best I can, so this is a thread.

Q1. Is  a religious: ideology or education system?

A1. It’s more a system of education and socialisation than anything really. Ware observes that QS have played a foundational role in building Muslim societies for centuries #StudiEdAfrica

#almajiranci is widely practiced where knowledge acquisition is considered insufficient. And this is part of the reason that many still send their young boys. They believe they are widening their choices. #StudiEdAfrica

A bit about the philosophy of Qur’anic schools now. Knowledge here is legitimately acquired only through personal transmission and by persons qualified to transmit it. #StudiEDAfrica #Almajiranci

This is what makes it different from Western secular schools, where knowledge transmission can often seem depersonalised. For QS, knowledge is also linked with devotional praxis #StudiEDAfrica #Almajiranci

So in many ways teaching to inform, form and transform the whole of man. Moving beyond knowledge as discursive. The ethos is really about educating the whole of man. #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

Q2. What are the challenges facing  in Nigeria?

A2: the challenges facing #almajiranci are many and I suspect that these challenges are the reason why we are all here and really invested in this discussion. So thank you all for coming on board. #StudiEDAfrica

Here are some of the challenges: the begging for sustenance; the danger being on the streets expose #Almajirai to; potential neglect; lack of standardisation; a knowledge system potentially out of sync #StudiEDAfrica

Q3. Are the challenges facing  across West Africa similar?

A3: #almajiranci is actually very similar to the Senegalese talibe system which also sees young boys often on the streets. Research has also shown similar concerns. Both systems are situated within a cultures of QS in Muslim west Africa #StudiEDAfrica

Q4. Should  be proscribed or reformed?

A4: no I do t believe that a ban will solve the problems of #almajiranci. I think we need to be more strategic than just a simple ban. In the next few tweets I will talk about potential solutions to the problems. #StudiEDAfrica

In providing solutions, there must be ‘a clear move away from the portrayal of #Almajirai as a distinct problematic social category whose problems can be solved by a ban’ #StudiEDAfrica

It is also time to think past the stark binary of modern secular schools as solutions and Qur’anic schooling as problematic and incompatible with the modern Nigerian state #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

So really a move towards what Ware and Launay (2016) call an ‘epistemological hybridity’ sorry for the grammar . You know us academics. This is really similar to what exists in modern islamiyya schools #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

This is not really new. As it has been mentioned in the original UBE objectives which acknowledge QS and consider them a pathway to educational diversity in a pluralistic society #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

So what does this ‘hybridity’ look like? Oya more grammar – ‘collapsing pluralities of educational options’ (Butler, 2016). This involves sending young #Almajirai to dual schools and finding a way to ‘bookend’ their learning.

The ideological infrastructure for this already exist with the islamiyya schools but at the moment this, just like s decent education in Nigeria generally, is only an option for the ‘urban rich’ #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

An ESSPIN report by Bano (2009) showed a high demand for education among rural folks including secular and religious Education. Their ‘#Tsangaya cluster pilot’ is therefore a good starting point. #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

The ESSPIN report called for a strategy based on dialogue that can build trust, it found that with small stimulus from the state, rural communities can organise themselves to move towards integration #almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

There is also nothing to stop the postcolonial Nigerian state from validating QS as a form of education, except perhaps politics. Malamai with schools can be properly documented with their knowledge recognised. #Almajiranci #StudiEDAfrica

Former #Almajirai can also be helped to bridge learning gaps and the teachers amongst them upskilled to become better trainers. Back to what ‘bookending’ looks like, it means that boys attend WS at times when they would be on the streets. Because Govt takes care of feeding

The state of #almajiranci today actually says more about us as a people than about the Almajirai themselves. You can tell a lot about a society by the way they treat their young and their old.

So on the issue of #almajiranci I have to be optimistic because I see people all really invested and wanting things to change for the better. Thanks everyone for joining us. #StudiEDAfrica

You can read our April chat on ‘Public education funding in Nigeria: issues and recommendations.’ by Oriyomi Ogunwale, @waleoriyomi, a graduate of Animal Nutrition from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun state in Nigeria. He’s an advocate for  and presently ProjectLead at  ,an organisation that uses use data to advocate for  and  in Nigeria’s Education sector.

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