“ESSPIN has opened our eyes to the innumerable possibilities of teaching our children from the Qur’an while they also learn literacy and numeracy as well”
These are the words of Ahmed Rufa’i-the malam of Ali Nuhu Wali Community School in Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano state in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north. The malams are the learned teachers of the Holy Quran who determine to teach children with the consent of their parents. Ahmed and other malams across 3 pilot LGAs have benefited from ESSPIN’s support which seeks to increase the enrollment, attendance and retention of pupils in Tsangaya pilot schools. These schools are traditional Quranic schools which accommodate the malams and pupils as they migrate from their native communities in search of Quranic knowledge.
ESSPIN has supported the integration of literacy and numeracy into the teaching sessions in these Islamic schools. Training has been provided to community teachers in three pilot LGAs, who are being assisted by support teachers who have also received training. This effort is targeting 900 children and also ensuring that these children attend at least 60 percent of classes.
ESSPIN has also supported the malams who own the Quranic schools to carry out a farming initiative by providing them with seeds to grow for food and sale, thus complementing their efforts to support and care for the pupils. The malams have already harvested their first crops and are enthusiastically looking forward to another planting season. The overall goal is to increase enrolment in the schools while making sure the pupils’ attendance also increases. It is anticipated also that there will be a completion and transition to formal Junior Secondary Schools by the pioneer students of the Tsangaya pilot schools.
Ahmed Rufa’i and other colleagues continue to receive support from ESSPIN and he enthusiastically states: “We have had a lot of trainings and assistance for agricultural products from ESSPIN and they have been relentless in supporting us”.
Ahmed’s school has also benefited from ESSPIN’s Water and Sanitation initiative. ESSPIN has invested significant programme resources to support pilot schools, where necessary, with educational materials, better infrastructure and water supply and sanitation facilities.
“As if the support for agriculture was not enough”, Ahmed enthuses, “ESSPIN gave us the only borehole in this community and that has boosted our status. Now we always insist the community should allow the pupils fetch water first for their daily needs before anybody else fetches. It is the school’s borehole and everybody knows this-ESSPIN has done this for us and we cannot say thank you enough”
Ahmed’s story in Kumbotso is shared by other malams in Fagge and Albasu Local government’s areas where this pilot project is being run in close collaboration with the Kano state government.
“Our prayers now are that ESSPIN will also teach us, the malams, numeracy and literacy as well and not only the teachers. What is happening here is highly desirous” says a smiling Ahmed.