“A lot of the children from the community want to come into the class when my lessons are going on. They find the methods I use in teaching appealing, especially when they hear my pupils singing songs” says Mustapha Ubale, a 22 year old community teacher trained by ESSPIN and working in the Garbo cluster at Miga Local Government, Jigawa state.
Mustapha teaches in an Islamic Tsangaya school. As he teaches, other pupils from the community want to get a glimpse of what is happening in his class. “The children in the community are always at the window wanting to learn these new songs and join in the games and group work that we engage in during the lessons”.
ESSPIN’s involvement with the Islamic, Quranic and Tsangaya Education (IQTE) initiative in Jigawa has ensured that well trained and trusted individuals from within the community serve as teachers to Muslim children, thereby increasing access to basic education – in many cases to those from very poor backgrounds. Whilst maintaining their traditional approach to education, these schools are responding to local demands for other subjects (initially mathematics, social studies and English) to be taught.
ESSPIN understands the challenges of integrating elements of a modern curriculum into religious schools and is always in dialogue with the communities to ensure a shared understanding of the process and its anticipated outcomes. School Management Committees include the malams who are the proprietors of the schools, parents and the support teachers.
“I am learning a lot from my teacher, and my friends as well as we work together. I hope that one day I will complete school, get a job and be able to help the needy” says Adamu Idris, a pupil in Mustapha’s class.
“I don’t beat the children because we have been trained not to do this since it does not aid the process of learning. The children are now very responsive and participative in class. I have never seen children so enthusiastic and confident in answering questions”, notes Mustapha. This has been the hallmark of almost all the Tsangaya schools whose teachers have been trained by ESSPIN.
Mustapha adds, “Other teachers want to be trained in these methods as well”