The Katsina State Government has set up a committee to conduct census of all Almajiri schools in the state with a view to repositioning the system.
The Chief Judge of Katsina State, Justice Musa Danladi-Abubakar, disclosed this on Tuesday in a position paper he presented at a seminar organised by the Save Katsina Group, an NGO.
Abubakar’s paper was titled: Permanent Solution to Almajiri and Out-of-School Children: How to Reposition Almajari System of Education in Katsina State.
The CJ said that the report and findings of the committee would be reviewed by legal experts who would come up with policy, mechanisms, structures and regulations on how the system would work.
According to him, the Almajirai (pupils) of Almajiri Schools System, aged between four and 15, are engaged more in seeking sustenance than learning the Qur’an.
“The children move around in pitiful conditions, looking haggard, sick and in an un-hygienic condition,” Abubakar said.
He pointed out that children in these formative ages needed love, care and affection, stressing that the reverse is the case for these children.
He noted that apart from being inherently vulnerable to exploitation and abuses, the pupils indulged in anti-social habits which often lead them into committing serious crimes.
“They become prey for unscrupulous politicians who engage them in political thuggery, sectarian/ religious violence; some end up as recruits of extremist, religious and militant groups,” the CJ said.
According to the CJ, contemporary Almajari system depicts the attitude of irresponsible parents that are insensitive and uncaring about the well-being of their children.
The CJ stated that the situation of the Almajari system today was far from being a reflection of Islamic ideals and principles of seeking Qur’anic knowledge.
He noted that begging is un-dignifying as confirmed by Prophet Muhammad (PBOH), who said in his Hadith (traditions) that “Begging is a distortion that disfigures a person’s face.”
Abubakar said that the proposed reforms would be holistic, realistic and sustainable.
“This is because under the new dispensation, money or resources collected for Zakat (poor rates), will be channelled to the Almajiri Education System.
“I commend the Katsina State House of Assembly for passing the law for the establishment of the State Zakat Agency,
“Under the law, the agency will be responsible for the reformation of the Almajiri system of education in the state.
“The only thing we are awaiting now is the composition of members of that agency,” the CJ said.
Abubakar commended the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, for spearheading the reform of the Almajiri system of education.
He said that Sultan Abubakar’s efforts would articulate a comprehensive, practical and workable blueprint on how to reform the system.
“This is because the Almajiri phenomena is a serious social problem of national magnitude.
“Many attempts were made in the past to address the problem, but the thing remained largely an academic or on paper.
“Unless and until this issue of Almajiri system is given serious attention, we are living on time bomb that may explode in no time.
“As parents, we need to take the responsibility of their upbringing and protection.
“Islam gave a lot of rights to children; for instance, the right to life, right to legitimacy, right to education.