The Adamawa State Government has said the multi-million Almajiri schools established by former President Goodluck Jonathan have yet to become operational because they are too expensive to run.
This was made known in Yola, the state capital, by the chairman of the Adamawa State Universal Education Board, Dr. Mohammed Toungo, while appraising the success of the educational initiative of the American University of Nigeria, targeting almajiri children between the ages of six and 17 years.
Corroborating Toungo, the permanent secretary, Adamawa State Ministry of Education, Alhaji Mahmud Abubakar, also explained that the state government was finding it difficult to put the almajiri schools into use because of financial constraints.
Toungo spoke at an event organised by the Technology Enhanced Learning for All project to commemorate the World Literacy Day on Wednesday.
The USAID-funded initiative, which utilizes radio and information technology to reach vulnerable children, has helped improved the literacy and numeracy skills of over 22,000 almajiri.
Toungo who was represented by the ADSUBEB’s Director of Quality Assurance, Saidu Komsari, said the board was ready to key into the TELA project run by the American University in Yola.
He added that the AUN had played a complementary role of solving a fraction of the problem because there were over half a million out of school children in the state which the seven model integrated islamiya schools established by the Federal Government since 2012 had yet to redress.
He said, “We appreciate the AUN for taking up the almajiri problem. But as it is right now, we have over half a million of these children roaming the streets. If you take 22,000 out of it; how many per cent is it?”
According to him, the state is bothered by the number of out-of-school children and the non-operation of the school as a result of funding gaps and the government’s inability to recruit the personnel needed for its take-off because such schools required specialised teachers.
He noted that the government spent not less than N100 million in constructing each of the seven schools with a combined enrolment for only 420 almajiri but which also had been lying fallow since its establishment in 2012.
“But since 2012 up till now they have not commenced because the recruitment of the specialised teachers to the schools had not been done because of the expensive nature of the teachers.
“The feeding of the almajiri is also a big problem. I think the enrollment we intended was only 420 and the American University educated 22,000 in one year. It was expensive, capital intensive and the beneficiaries were very few. So they (schools) are there lying waste.
“We have asked the USAID to give us money so that we can start the schools but they refused us except we come with a performance indicator”
The federal government had under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in its determination to modernise the almajiri system of Islamic education built and commissioned some model schools across the North, some of which were also built in Adamawa State.
The federal government at the time devoted N15bn to realise its objective of integrating over 10 million almajiris into the formal educational school system.