Almajiranci is a system of Islamic education which is practised in northern Nigeria and it is also the name for a young boy who is taught within this system, the system is called Almajiranci, the male gender seeking Islam knowledge is called Almajiri, the female gender is Almajira, and the plural is (Almajirai).
The Almajiri system of Islamic education is primarily woven around children and for all the good it engenders in raising children imbued with Islamic values, that a lot of those children somehow end up on the streets, begging, is unsavory and by all means unsightly.
Street begging even for an adult is a bundle of hazards. These hazards are physiological, psychological, emotional, and even spiritual.
When a child for whatever reason is fed into the vicious cycle of street begging, society has a genuine problem on its hands.
When such street begging has the direct encouragement of a system that draws its structure and sustenance from religion with all its conflations, a nightmare is nigh at hand. Nigeria is certainly a country of harsh religious sensibilities.
Everything is seen through the lens of religion. For one thing, it has kept her people resilient in the face of a lot of difficulties. It is certainly one thing religion does and does well. Faith makes people resilient.
However, religion has also had the unwanted effect of distorting reality, or at least, the perception of the same here in Nigeria. This is certainly at the root of a lot of the problems confronting the country.
The Almajiri system for all its good has left our streets with more children than we would care to have out there at any time. Children should at all times be well fed and well educated.
They should wear good clothes and sleep under good roofs. They must also be extended to the best psychological and emotional support at all times. These must be given a premium if we are to hope for a future better than what we have today.
The Federal Government of Nigeria makes primary education free and compulsory. It is also the right of parents to decide which form of education is acceptable to them within the framework of the nation’s education policy. This is why this raises the issue of the Almajirci institution as an educational option that should be given the consideration that it deserves if we should avoid and escape from the negative social implications of its neglect.
Therefore, there is the need for government intervention by setting up a unit to be responsible for coordinating, supervising the affairs of such itinerant and vagrant informal educational establishments within the National Commission for Primary Education.
Wasila is a student of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi.