By Abdulsalam Alkali
Almajiranci is an informal educational system that is predominantly practised in Northern Nigeria. Almajirai are teenagers ages 4-17 who are sent away from their dwelling by their respective parents to seek Islamic knowledge, a source for sustenance and clothe themselves by begging for alms from people.
The Almajiri system has produced prime leading Islamic intellectuals in Northern Nigeria. Still, along the cord, the system has been altered with the rise in population, making it a system that makes children of tender age susceptible to danger.
It’s awful how Almajirai are abandoned to cater for themselves even though parents should be responsible for their children’s needs and provide them with education. Sadly, parents choose to neglect their responsibility towards their children and abandon them at the early phase of their lives. This is unfair and should be tackled; else, it will erode our societal values.
Numerous discussions and symposia have been held on the predicaments of the Almajirai and how to reform the system. But it is all an exercise in futility because there has been practically no action to stem the tide.
The government, civil society organisations and traditional leaders have a role to play. First, the government should enact legislation prohibiting parents from taking their children to the Almajiri school. In addition, the government should make primary and secondary school free and compulsory so that poor and vulnerable parents can send their children to both formal and informal schools for our society’s good.
Abdulsalam Alkali writes in Maiduguri, Borno State, via firstname.lastname@example.org.