Nigeria has always been famous for her huge population – the seventh largest in the world – and for her huge number of out-of-school children ― the largest in the world.
Therefore, former president Goodluck Jonathan established “Almajiri integrated model schools” in the North to reduce the number of children who are out of schools, but loiter the streets.
In all, he established 165 schools. But more than three years on, many of the schools lack basic facilities.
One of the schools, LEA Model Islamiyya Primary School, Kutunku 1, Gwagwalada, was completed in December 2014, but checks conducted in 2016 revealed that the classrooms were under lock and key, and covered in thick bushes because basic facilities were lacking.
Thankfully, the school is now accepting students, and is training them in various aspects of Islamic studies and ‘western education’. Presently, it boasts of 14 staff members, including the headmistress and school administrator, and 800 pupils or thereabout.
The ICIR recently paid a visit to LEA Model Islamiyya and discovered that students and staff members have abandoned the school toilets due to a lack of water supply. Instead, they defecate on the land nearby. This is a school that has more toilets than the total number of classrooms. The reporter counted two offices, 14 classrooms, and 20 toilet fixtures.
NO BOARDING FACILITY
Almajiri schools are usually built with lodging facility because many of the pupils are homeless. But LEA Model Islamiyya has none. Muhammad Sani Idris, one of the school’s class teachers who teaches Arabic, said the lack of accommodation affects the teaching and the learning efforts.
“The curriculum is broad and the time is not sufficient,” Idris said, adding that “If boarding facilities are available, both the teachers and the pupils will have more time to complete the curriculum. He also said the pupils could use free meals to make them do better. Though Nigerian government says it has spent N6.2 billion to provide free meal for primary school pupils in 14 States, the pupils of LEA Model Islamiyya are yet to benefit from this programme .
However, when ex-president Jonathan launched the first Almajiri school in Sokoto six years ago, the school not only had dormitories, it also had a language laboratory, recitation hall, clinic, vocational workshop, dining hall and Mallam quarters. He promised then that the school would be the standard for other Almajiri schools.
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