Stakeholders in the Basic Education Sector have called on the Nigerian government to include the Almajiri School Programme in its School Feeding Programme.
In separate calls in Ankpa and Dekina Local government Areas of Kogi state where the Almajiri Model Schools are located, the Former National Coordinator of the Almajiri School programmes , Professor Mustapha Jagaba and the traditional ruler of Anyingba kingdom both urged the government to give priority to the children of Almajiri Model schools in it school feeding scheme.
Prof. Jagaba who led a sensitisation and advocacy team of Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC , to kogi state identified feeding as one of the major challenge facing the full implementation of the programme in the state.
He stressed that if the government is really committed to inclusiveness in education, the Almajiri children who he said are disadvantaged in Nigeria education should be encouraged.
The advocacy team coordinator pointed that paying attention to their school system will serve as morale booster to their community.
Prof Jagaba explained that feeding scheme was not included as plans for the Almajiri schools, he added that the state government and communities where the schools were located were expected to handle the aspect.
According to him, “there is significant achievement so far as regards to the Almajiri schools we have inspected in kogi state. We saw that these schools were completed and handed over to the community and they are utilising the school, we also saw that children are there and we say the facilities are being used except for two challenges”
“The communities are utilising the school already but we observed that the computers supplied were not put into use due to lack of operators, we also observed that in another school the expected computers were not been supplied due to inefficiencies from contractor. We also observed that the hostels were not been put into use due to feeding arrangements” he said.
” Almajiri children should be given priority because they are disadvantaged and if the government is really committed to inclusiveness in education, then since Almajiri is one of the disadvantaged school in our education they should be encouraged ” Prof Jagaba added.
On his part, the king of Anyingba, Ogohi Onu Anyingba , Abubakar Shuaib Okolo , commended the federal government on the school initiative ,he appealed to the federal government to make all Almajiri schools nationwide to become beneficiaries of school programme.
“Feeding is the major challenge we encounter in running the school hostel” the ogohi said.
He urged the state and local government education board to take ownership of the school.
The Onu of Ankpa , Abdulmalik Umar also applauded the government on the model schools but said implementation of the programme remains key challenge.
The stakeholders identified underutilisation of facilities and problems of teachers’ allowances as other factors hindering full implementation of the Almajiri school programme.
The two Almajiri schools inspected are, The School of Chief Imam of Anyingba in Dekina local government and the school of chief imam of Ankpa in Ankpa local government.