* I was first enrolled in the system 45 years ago
* Proposed model for adoption in Tsangaya schools
Former Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami has said he is “a product of Tsangaya”, adding that he was enrolled into the system for the first time more than 45 years ago.
Pantami, a renowned Muslim scholar, made this known in a social media post on Friday, during his visit to Tsangaya school in Bojude, Gombe State.
He wrote, “I visited Tsangaya school today in Bojude, Gombe State. I really enjoyed our Darasuu along with our analysis of Harji, among others. I am a product of Tsangaya as I was enrolled into the system for the first time more than 45 years ago. May the Almighty continue to bless us.”
Muslim News gathered that Tsangaya is a traditional Qur’anic school system of education, widely accepted and practised in Northern Nigeria and many parts of West and North Africa and parts of Asia with significant Muslim populations.
The pupils of Tsangaya schools are famously known by many Nigerians as Almajiri or Almajirai (plural), a term derogatorily used by the media to describe young mendicants roaming the streets begging for food and alms, as they also seek Arabic knowledge from their local teachers.
Visited Tsangaya school today in Bojude, Gombe State. I really enjoyed our Darasuu along with our analysis of Harji, among others. I am a product of Tsangaya as I was enrolled into the system for the first time more than 45 years ago. May the Almighty continue to bless us. pic.twitter.com/CQCt6LwiDs
— Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim, CON (@ProfIsaPantami) September 22, 2023
But Pantami, as a lecturer at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, in 2012, saw the description as injustice, saying, “It is our mentality whenever and wherever we see dirty and downtrodden children roaming about, begging in market places or stations to always assume they are Almajiri, pupils of Tsangaya, while the reality of the situation is far from that.
“Many of these beggars have no relationship with Qur’anic studies and only partake in begging as a way of life, no more, no less.
“In line with this, whenever we are discussing integrating “Tsangaya”, we should always address these unfortunate kids differently, because it requires different effort from that of Tsangaya,” he noted.
In his 2012 presentation, Pantami, who later became the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria between 2019 and 2023, proposed a model for adoption in Tsangaya schools.
According to him,” There is a need to establish governing councils for the school, as maintaining and promoting Qur’anic schools is not a one-man business, and not just a necessity but an obligation on every person who believes in the divinity of the Glorious Qur’an
Many years later, former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in early 2023 assented to the bill seeking to create a Commission to cater to Almajiri and out-of-school children to prevent destitution and exploitation.
When established, according to the bill sponsors, the Commission will “Be responsible for providing skills acquisition and entrepreneurship programmes development for children and teenagers through schools to reduce the rate of poverty, and lessen delinquency and destitution in Nigeria”.
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