By Adeola Badru & Shina Abubakar
After being abandoned for years, Almajiri schools and those to cater for out-of-school children, OSC, are being revived in Oyo and Osun states, checks by our correspondents have revealed.
The Almajiri education has been part of the culture of the people in Northern part of the country, and the influx of people from that part of the country to other areas necessitated the setting up of the schools across the country.
The Almajiri schools were part of the education policy of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Oyo State government has decided to key in into the system to improve on the standard set by the National Policy on Education and subsequently attain education for all.
In Oyo State, the hope of the Almajiris and street hawkers has been rekindled, as the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), implemented in the state, would soon see them attracted to schooling, while over 5,000 out-of-school children have been added to the enrolment number in the state’s public primary schools.
The Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Nureni Adeniran, further said in an interview that the state had identified centres across 21 local government areas in the state where Almajiris and hawkers would be trained, pointing out that the centres would become operational as soon as training of teachers to man the centres is concluded.
He expressed the readiness to put into use BESDA take-off grant towards educating the out-of-school children in identified local government areas and ensure their retention in schools.
He said: “Despite all the hiccups, I strongly believe that the essence of BESDA, which is to effectively take all the out-of-school children off the streets and draw them back to schools, will be accomplished in Oyo State.”
Expressing displeasure with the outrageous number of out-of-school children in the state, Adeniran stated that the government would ensure that a total of 62, 733 hawkers were taken back to school, while 107, 803 Almajiris would be taken off the streets in the Oke-Ogun region of the state.
Also in an interview, Head, Coordination Support Team, BESDA, Mallam Iro Umar, said, “Oyo State has a good team to implement BESDA project. BESDA has what it takes to drive the programme to a fruitful end.”
He disclosed that the state government would receive an initial BESDA grant of $3 million to kick off the programme in Ona-ara, Kajola, Surulere, Saki West, Akinyele, Olorunsogo, Iseyin, Saki East, Oyo West, Ogbomosho South, Ogbomosho North and Iwajowa, Ogo-Oluwa, Ibadan South East, Oriire, Oluyole, Afijio, Oyo West, Ibadan South East, Egbeda, Oreloope, Ibarapa Central and Ibadan North East.
In Osun State, the structure put in place by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in the state capital has been taken over by an Islamic school.
The school, after commissioning has never been put to use.
However, when Vanguard visited the Akede Iyaloja area, where it was sited, it has been converted to an Islamic school.
The sign post on the school read Zumratul-mumeen school, while the dress adorned by the children is different from those used by other public schools in the state.
When contacted, the Executive Secretary, State Universal Basic Education Board, Adeoye Bakare, said the Almajiri education was up and running across the state.
According to him, “the system is under the Universal Basic Education Board and is majorly for the Fulani children but the regular pupil can also join the classes.
“The Almajiri education system has not been abandoned, it will be difficult to access school at this time due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. You should also know that it is under the supervision of the Universal Basic Education. But I am very sure it is functional.”
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