The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) under its Executive Secretary, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has undertaken a number of programmes to address the Tsangaya Quranic education, which is critical to the realisation of UBEC goals, UJI ABDULLAHI ILIYASU reports.
The issue of out-of-school children and the Tsangaya education is one of the critical intervention programmes of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which the agency’s Executive Secretary Dr Hamid Bobboyi is working tirelessly to address. Introduced in 2010, the programme was aimed at integrating the Quranic education into the mainstream western system.
Tsangaya school model
An Islamic cleric and former minister of communication, Isa Ali Pantami, proposing a Tsangaya model school for Nigeria said, the traditional Qur’anic school system commonly known as Tsangaya school is almost as old as the history of Qur’anic revelation.
He said after he had understudied some Tsangaya models developed and adopted in some countries of the world, he now came up with a model for adoption in Nigeria. His statement was based, he said, on his in-depth interest and experience of schooling and managing Tsangaya school on one hand, and knowing the socio-economic and cultural challenges of Nigeria on the other.
“Tsangaya system requires urgent attention towards its genuine integration which can be achieved through community service by committed people, not those who loot public funds and still claim to be religious.
“Some pupils in various Tsangaya schools are orphans, while others have completely lost contact with their parents. The only guardian they know and regard are their local teachers. If you hand them over to an insincere government, that will most likely fail in fulfilling its obligations to the schools, they would be exposed to untold suffering. In the end, what we fear will surely happen – the pupils will certainly indulge in social vices and extremism as a result of missing parents, local teacher and negligence of insincere governments that have already abandoned public institutions,” he said.
Also a senior lecturer at the Bayero University, Kano, Dr. Bashir Galadanci, speaking on street begging by Almajiri in the North, said that the Almajiri education across the country should be a great shame to the nation. He said Almajiri children are despised and hated as a result of the absence of coherent policy by the government to incorporate them in the conventional education system.
Presenting a paper at the opening of a 2-day education summit on free and compulsory basic primary and secondary education held at the Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano, recently, Galadanci said the issue of funding Tsangaya and Almajiri system of education was also crippled by lack of fund and recognition which was supposed to be captured in the national curriculum.
The concept of Tsangaya and Almajiri education system he said, had been popularly embraced and accorded high priority by many nations the world over as part of the education curriculum of such nations. He agreed that the concept had made everyone to appreciate the fact that students of the system had earned prestige, honour and credibility, unlike here in Nigeria.
Citing the example of Bangladesh to buttress his point, the university lecturer however stated that in countries like Egypt, Sudan and Saudi-Arabia, the Tsangaya and Almajiri education system was designed to shield the children from scavenging in refuse dumps to survive, stressing that no single person could be sighted roaming the streets in the name of Islamic education.
He rebuked northern governors for not rising to the challenge of accommodating the Tsangaya and Almajiri education system in the nation’s curriculum.
UBEC’s rescue mission
Many articles have condemned street begging which Almajiri education system has occasioned. Because of this the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) under Dr Hamid Bobboyi has taken the challenge in making sure that Nigerian streets, especially in northern states, are clean of school-age beggars. It is worthy to note that in any critical condition women and children are the most hit, therefore, UBEC has introduced a lot of measures to curb this menace.
UBEC has selected a number of training institutions that are implementing the Cluster Schools Model (CSM) of the capacity building of teachers and managers. The training was aimed at improving teacher development processes in the basic education sub-sector. This was the consensus of the two-day meeting hosted by UBEC for representatives of training institutions/colleges of education selected by State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) and saddled with the responsibility of conducting the cluster model of teacher professional development in basic education institutions.
UBEC Director, Academic Services, Mallam Wadatau Madawaki informed participants/representatives of the various training institutions of the significance of the Cluster Schools Model (CSM) training in enhancing the capacity of basic education teachers and managers. Mallam Madawaki also used the opportunity offered by the meeting to stress on the role of training institutions in conducting pre-service and in-service training of teachers as well as new initiatives in strengthening the effectiveness of the cluster model of teacher capacity development.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony during the programme, UBEC Executive Secretary, who was represented by the Director, UBEC Northwest zonal office, Alhaji Badamasi Musa, recalled the outstanding efforts of training institutions in conducting the training for teachers in previous years using the UBEC Teacher Professional Development (TPD) fund. The Executive Secretary noted that the training institutions by reason of the roles they play hold a major stake in providing quality basic education in the country. He expressed optimism that the various institutions selected on merit by the 36 SUBEBs and FCT UBEB for the next phase of the training will deliver on their mandates and urged them to make the best use of the opportunity offered by the programme to identify the priority training methods that will add value and enhance the attainment of the UBEC activities.
In the course of the meeting participants were informed that UBEC in partnership with other development partners has reviewed the cluster school training approach to include effective monitoring, follow-up and mentorship of participating teachers, assessment methods and tools that will ensure accurate data collection for improved and informed decision making on the implementation of the Cluster School Model in all states.
The event featured paper presentations, deliberations on the reviewed cluster model implementation guides as well as question and answer sessions. The meeting which held at Bafra Hotel, Kaduna was attended by representatives of the training institutions from all the states.
UBEC and international partners
UBEC’s renewed effort and partnership with international development partners in this direction is expected to enrich teacher capacity building interventions and usher in improved classroom delivery processes in basic education delivery institutions in the country
School Improvement Programmes (SIP)
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has called on state governors across the country to face the challenge of supporting the implementation of the goals of the School-Based Management Committee-School-Improvement Programme (SBMC-SIP) for quality standard to be entrenched in the quest to make the education sector effectively vibrant.
Speaking at the flag-off of UBEC programme held in Government House, Kano, recently, Adamu said the programme was one of the effective government engagements and collaboration strategies for forging linkages and partnerships with stakeholders in the delivery of education at the basic level, and that the SBMC-SIP was seen as a milestone.
Adamu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, however stated that the UBE programme was a homegrown initiative aimed at addressing national aspirations and meeting global expectations through the provision of qualitative functional education free of charge, to all children of school-going age.
Adamu said the programme’s implementation experiences had shown that the delivery of basic education in the country was beset by daunting challenges that had militated against Nigeria’s drive towards meeting her developmental goals and global expectations.
He said the federal government was fully aware that inadequate funding was at the centre of all the challenges that were facing not only the basic education but the entire education sector, and that for the myriad of such challenges to be jettisoned, the president had constituted inter-ministerial committee, with the hope that by the time it submitted its report, the disturbing trend of inadequate funding would be addressed.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr Bobboyi said the essence and the guiding principle of the self-help and community engagement was to engender strong partnership and the desire to draw and harness state resources and skills alongside the abundant material and human resources in the community with a view to developing the basic education sub-sector.
Dr Bobboyi said no nation can sustain a robust, functional and qualitative basic education without the meaningful and strategic involvement of its citizenry, stressing the need for instituting the SBMC-SIP which was informed by the fact that the overall success of the basic education sub-sector depends largely on the level of community awareness, participation and support for the programme.
He pointed out that it was the vision of the commission in the SBMC-SIP to put up a strategy for school development, whereby community initiated self-help projects would be implemented by the SBMCs as it has been globally recognised as school development agents.
The commission’s delivery and engagement with stakeholders were many, he added, cutting across infrastructure development through the direct intervention programme and the UBE grant.
Giving a brief account of SBMC-SIP, the Director, Social Mobilisation, Alhaji Bello Kagara, said global practices encouraged school committees to involve in planning, improvement, and management of schools in their domains and localities and that global reforms agenda in the education sector focus on decentralisation of school governance and devolving responsibilities to structures and groups closer to schools.
In his remarks, Kano state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, stated that his administration was ever willing to support programmes aimed at instilling quality in the educational sector with the introduction of compulsory and free education, positing that the drive for the consolidation of the much pronounced basic education, required a collective resolve on the part of stakeholders for the objectives to be achieved.
By and large however, all the 36 states in the federation and FCT should also strive to pay their counterpart funds in order to be able to carry out very important programmes of UBEC, as failing to do this, is tantamount to sabotaging the efforts of Dr Bobboyi towards rolling out other programmes that are beneficial to all school age children that are out of school across the country. Managing UBEC is a huge responsibility which requires the cooperation of stakeholders and governors across the 36 states and the FCT.