After about two years of research and consultations Sokoto State government is now set, with the support of stakeholders, to remodel the Almajiri system after that of the Indonesian Pondok (Islamic boarding school) model that combines Qur’anic Studies with Western education and vocational training.
At a stakeholders summit on the modernization of Qur’anic schools in the state, convened by the Sokoto State government on Wednesday, Gov. Tambuwal, who said his administration, with the backing of the relevant stakeholders and donors will pursue, with vigor, the take-off of the new system, also indicated that the state government is set to collocate character and learning while working towards overall societal reorientation.
The governor said the unfolding Pondok model of schooling will be given maximum support by the State government in terms of provision of lands, infrastructure, funding and sustained performance-based incentives to outstanding schools as the need for any such arises.
Already, noted the governor, two committees have been inaugurated by the government to ensure that its aims about the success of the new schooling system alongside attitudinal shifts are achieved.
“I want to assure you that we are set to combine learning with character moulding at every level of the society, because we have observed that blameworthy socialization is responsible for many of the problems we are coping with in the country today.
“I also want to use this opportunity to appeal to all the stakeholders here, particularly Islamic scholars civil servants and donor agencies- local and global, that we should all partake in the take-off and sustenance of this system of schooling,” Gov. Tambuwal advocated.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu pledged that the federal government is ready to encourage states like Sokoto and Borno who show sufficient commitment to the overhauling of the Tsangaya system of education.
Mal. Adamu, who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Prof. Hameed Bobboyi, said: “working with states, we shall also have a fastrack system that shall provide additional support for states like Sokoto, Borno and others that demonstrate real effort in transforming the sub-sector.”
As he applauded the Sokoto State government for its ‘laudable initiative’, the Minister observed that although the Northern part of the country had benefitted immensely from the Almajiri system in the past one thousand years, but much of what it provided has not been sustained and upgraded.
For this reason, he opined that “it is essential for all stakeholders to come to a firm resolution that itinerancy and begging can have no positive role in the advancement of Almajiri education especially in the 21st century.”
Similarly, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, noted that one of the issues that the Northern States are grappling with is that of the itinerant Almajiri system, “which has been given negativity connotation.”
He said as the repositories of the traditional institution, “we support this initiative (Pondok model) totally.
“One of our problems in this country and particularly in the North, is that we marshal good ideas but fail to implement them to the latter. But, in this case, God willing, this initiative shall not fail,” he said as he emphasized the need to combine both Islamic and Western education so that the society “will be better off.”
He also advocated for selflessness and the spirit of giving by all members of the society in order to ensure that the new system succeeds.