Most Quranic education school pupils, popularly referred to as “Almajiri”, who roam the streets in the northern part of the country, are not Nigerians, Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje said on Monday.
“A lot of them are foreigners from Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroun,” Ganduje said while declaring open, a 3-day retreat organised by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Kano.
The theme of the retreat is, “Enhancing Basic Education in Nigeria towards a Robust Institutional Strengthening and Effective Stakeholder Engagement”.
“From the survey we have conducted, most of the “Almajiri” roaming our streets are from Niger, Chad and the northern part of Cameroun.
“Once you improve the quality of ‘Almajiri’ education system, you are inviting other ‘Almajiri’ from other places to come to your state. That is another problem.
“The northern governors are putting more pressure toward having a universal legislation that will limit the migration from one state to another,” he said.
He said that the retreat was “very vital and important, especially at this moment that the country is gradually coming out from the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected education in the country”.
According to Ganduje, the retreat is also important because it is coming at a time education has become the first victim of uncontrolled population, especially when it is not matched with appropriate economic development.
Ganduje disclosed that free and compulsory primary and secondary school education, as well as the transformation of the “Almajiri” education system, were some of his major priorities in the education sector.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboye, had said that the retreat was aimed at providing an opportunity for the board and management to brainstorm, exchange ideas and strategies toward moving basic education forward.
He said that the board and management would review strategic priorities and propose workable changes in the institution’s structure to drive both medium and long term goals of the commission.
“We will also re-assess the legal framework, service delivery model, share emerging developments and trends, including global best practices, for better performance.
“This retreat could not have come at a better time than now when Nigeria and, indeed, the entire world, is facing a common enemy – COVID-19.
“The pandemic is serving as an eye-opener for all stakeholders in basic education,” he said.