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1.1     Background of the Study

It is an incontrovertible statement that education, as is acknowledged all over the world, is the key that unlocks the door of development. Knowledge serves as the pedestal on which a nation’s social cohesion and economic development depend. Education enhances the capabilities of an individual. It is a mechanism for enabling active citizenship; thus those who are denied the rights to education face the possibilities of limited chances in the future. UNESCO (2010:8) for in-stance argues that, meaningful education as a right is key to advancing social justice; as people who are marginalised in education face the prospect of bleak future chances which truncates their participation in social processes affecting them.

On that note, successive governments in Nigeria have at various times, introduced inclusive policies aimed at providing education as a fundamental right of every child. However, it is the realization of this that necessitated the Federal Government of Nigeria decision to set up the Ministerial Committee on Madrasah Education, which was inaugurated on 16th February, 2010. The survey conducted by the Committee revealed that there was a staggering more than 9 Million Almajirai across the country. At the submission of the committee’s report, Government set up an implementation committee on Almajiri Education Programme and charged it with the responsibility of ensuring that this more than 9 Million Almajirai is integrated in to the UBE Programme within the shortest possible time. This therefore led to the establishement of Almajiri model school schools of President Jonathan system of education in various part of the country.

Furthermore, in recent times, Almajiri was seen as one of the serious challenges before Social Scientists in Nigeria and perhaps some of the ruling elite in northern part of Nigeria. This is because large number of out-of school children is a threat not only to social cohesion but also to active citizenship. It breeds social exclusion and anti-social tendencies amongst youths and adults thereby making it difficult for the attainment of Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other international conventions and protocols. Its practice in the northern region has affected government priorities (Dukku, 2010).

 Almajiri system of  is a form of discipleship or religious training whereby a young child, usually less than 15 years old, is sent to another part of the village, town or country to learn about Islam (Sule –Kano, 2013). Without food, school fees, boarding materials, etc. he is to cater for himself by begging in streets. This practice has been entwined with people’s way of life over a thousand years and had played a pivotal role in the transmission of moral and religious values, as well as discipline and enhanced literacy in the society. According to Dukku (2010) most of the outstanding Islamic Scholars of pre- colonial and 20th century northern Nigeria were products of the system. This practice of the centuries did not only affect the literacy level and cognitive development of the people, but responsible for the low socio-economic development of the region. To the extent that recently, many people have through print and electronic media expressed displeasures at the concept of Almajiri system in the northern region. The problems it generated from ignorance, poverty and child labour have reached an alarming rate. Studies have shown that the socio- economic and political base of Almajiri system has collapsed irrespective of the powerful cultural and religious influence of the system in the northern region.

Although, Binta (2006) argued that Almajiris rarely partake in looting, killing and burning of properties during social disturbances, the fact remains that they have been found participating in protest marches and rallies organized for political and religious purposes. For instance, the maitatsine uprising in 1980 got its backing mostly from Almajirai in Kano, Gombe, Yola and Maiduguri (Ya’u, 2013).

The implication of the above is that, the economic development of the region has been adversely affected due to the rampant situation of Almajiri syndrome in northern Nigeria. It therefore negates the drive towards development. Rather than developing the capacities of children, the practice subjects them to neglect, abuse and exposes them to lurking impoverishment. The challenge now goes beyond comprehending what is happening to these children or developing appropriate policies that can lead to resolution of the problem. It is beginning to affect the teachings of Islam as people now ask whether Almajirci is part of Islam or just a product of socio- economic transformation of societal practices in the traditional education system. The Almajiri on one hand will keep moving into the urban centers with the hope of continuing his traditional role of providing an avenue for alms giving. On the other hand, the western–oriented urban dwellers will keep feeling that ALmajiri has no place in the modern areas.

          Many individuals believe that with proper efforts from the government as well as citizenry, these children could be taken out of their present socio-economic and cultural degeneration in the process of their search for Qu’ranic education (UBEC, 2010). It is against this background that this study intends to find out the causes and assess whether Almajiri system of education is efficient in the production of knowledge and skills, hence capable of meeting the educational needs of the teeming young people it enrolls under the present economic transformation.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In recent times, the prevalence and ugly sights of Almajiris in tattered clothes, bowl-in-hand, soliciting for food and alms in the streets of our major urban centers constitutes a source of concern to governments and the citizenry.  Wike (2013) reveals that there is a high occurrence of out-of-school chjldren in Nigeria estimated at 10.5 and Almajiris make up over 9 million of this number.These children are concentrated mainly in the northern part of Nigeria. Bringing up these children to be “Manicurists” or “Shoe-shiners” or “Water-vendors” could constitute a serious national security problem and a threat to social cohesion and active citizenship. With the spate of sectarian crises that bedeviled the northern region in the last few years, there is the apprehension that this sorely neglected section of our young population, if left uncontrolled, could be dragged into these crises.

 Despite the constitutional responsibilities of the government and huge financial contribution from the international communities the incidence of Almajiri syndrome is on the increase (El-miskin, 2007).Many studies have been carried out by different scholars to investigate the root causes of Almjirci and the need to address it. For instance, Sule- Kano (2013), El-Miskin (2007), Binta (2006),Wike (2013) etc, but the gap is still unfilled.

This study therefore, intends to investigate into the economic contributions of Almajiri school system in the study area.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to assess the impact of Almajiri system of education on the economic development of Adamawa State.

The specific objectives of the study are:

1.     To determine the major causes of Almajiri syndrome  in the study area;

2.     To trace the genesis of Almagiri  system of education in Nigeria;

3.     To determine the relationship between Almajiri system of education and economic development of Adamawa state;

4.     To identify the indicators that can be measured which contribute to economic development of Adamawa State through Almajiri system;

5.     To identify the employment potentials of Almajiri system in the study area;

6.     To make appropriate recommendations on the problems of Almajiri school system in the study area;

1.4   Research Questions

   1. What are the major causes of Almajiri syndrome in the study area?

   2. What are the indicators that can be measured which contribute to economic development of Adamawa state through Almajiri school system?

   3.  What are the employment potentials of Almajiri system of education in the study area?

4. Is there any significant relationship between almagiri system and economic development of Adamawa State?

5.  What are the recommendations on the problems of Almajiri school system in the study area?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Based on the objectives outlined so far, the following null hypothesis was formulated:

Ho1: The Almajiri school system has no positive impact on economic development of Adamawa state.

Ho2: Almajiri school system in Adamawa state has not significantly improved the poverty level of the people.

1.6 Significance of the Study

This research will be of immense benefit and value not only to academia but it will provide first hand information to public administrators and the community especially in initiating more pragmatic policies in the future.

It will also serve as repertoire of knowledge and source of information to policy makers, ministry of education as well as stakeholders in the northern region to develop a pragmatic approach to the development of the region.

In terms of its empirical significance, the data collected from this research will serve or provide a basis to counter non-empirical data or assertion about what Almajiri represents. Furthermore, this study would help contribute to the existing body of knowledge on Almajiri system and how it directly affects the lives of people of Adamawa in particular and Nigeria in general.

Finally, it will serve as a catalyst and frontline knowledge to an upcoming researcher who might want to carry out similar study.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study covers the impact of Almajiri system of education on economic development of Adamawa State. However, this study was limited to only the stakeholders of Almajiri school system within 3 selected L.G.As of the state.

1.8 Limitations of the Study                             

The major limitation of this research is the uncoordinated nature of Almajiri System of Education i.e. Mallams {teachers) run the schools according to their wish without a formal structure that could facilitate the coordination and integration of the students into the society. Although, the system is a formal system of education but the behaviors of the pupils are incidental and unconsciously acquired. It is also true that lack of record regarding the Almajiri school system as well as lack of formal organization constituted a limitation to this study. Another limitation to this study was that the questionnaires were not free of inherent inaccuracy due to the inability of the researcher to take everything into account at the time of conducting this research. There was also a limitation imposed by scope, since Almajiri System of education is endemic and is practiced in the whole northern region, limiting the study to only a state (Adamawa State) and use the results to make generalizations or national policies could be flawed.

1.9     Plan of the Study

For the purpose of easy referencing and consultation, the study span through five chapters; Chapter two contains the review of related literatures and the theoretical framework on Almagiri system of education and economic development. It further includes the determinants telecom industries performance. Chapter three basically contains the methodology of the study. It includes population, sample size, source of data collection and method of data analysis. Chapter four covers the presentation and analysis of relevant data collected for the research, as well as interpretation of findings or result. Chapter five basically comprises of summary, conclusion and recommendations.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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