By Mukhtar Garba Kobi
Almajiri: The existence of human beings could not be meaningful without education; therefore education is sacrosanct because it enormously helps in transferring history, artifacts, culture, and traditions of people from generation to generation.
Efforts of parents in stocking huge amounts for their children are good but the best that responsible parents could leave and build their children upon is education. It is only through education people learn how best to worship God, how to relate cordially with others, and equip themselves for the challenges that life might unfold.
Education has been playing a key role in transforming the lives of people irrespective of their discrepancies; it transfers learners from aggravating darkness of illiteracy to an uninterrupted light of knowledge.
Almajiri educational system has been in existence for centuries, parents thought they are delivering their mandate of equipping children religiously but the children are forced to beg for survival. In the past, parents enroll their children with the kinds of stuff necessary to facilitate their studies but nowadays children are just sent without at least a visit to check how they are coping with life.
Many rural and poor families that could not afford formal education enroll their children in Almajiri schools. Most of the teachers are after what they might get from foreign donations and non-governmental organizations’ interventions not morally and religiously training the children.
In some states, one can see as many Almajiris as possible in junctions just roaming around in the name of begging; as a result, thugs, drug users, criminals, and bad leaders use them in small amounts to cause havoc in societies. It is saddening that underage children looking emaciated in tattered clothes begging while their age mates are studying in schools.
Most times, parents abandon their children to Malams without any amount for feeding, paying medical bills, or to be used for western educations but unashamedly back when they heard their kids become successful in life.
Some parents send their children to Almajiri schools due to uncontrollable birth; high number of children and the inability to carter for their needs force parents especially in rural areas to send them to Almajiri schools. Skyrocketing level of poverty is another reason why some parents send their children to far places in the name of seeking religious education.
Some enroll their stubborn children into Almajiri schools to ease tensions at homes forgetting those same children if care is not taken could grow up to become peace scatters upon the promise of material rewards or psycho-social brainwashing.
First of all, parents should bear in mind that God will judge them hereafter about how they deliver their responsibilities of providing food, clothing, education both religious and western for all members of the family.
Secondly, Almajiri teachers should be treating them like theirs with love and care, begging should be stopped and parents should be mandated to supply children with food and money for upkeep.
Traditional and religious leaders have key roles to play in bringing changes to the system, by making sure they regularly remind parents about their responsibilities.
The recent move by governments in merging Almajiri education along with modern education is a good expenditure but feeding them (Almajiris) is vital because nothing could be possible with empty stomachs.
Family planning could help in mitigating frequent childbirths, few numbers of children lead to few demands which make parents perform optimally without shunning their tasks.
Mukhtar Garba Kobi can be reached via 08100358411