Six Years of Existence of Tsangaya Schools in Kaduna State (2010-2016): An Assessment

This research is an assessment of the six years of existence of “Tsangaya Schools” in Kaduna state, Nigeria. The research centers on ascertaining the achievements recorded since after the implementation of the tsangaya schools. Accordingly, the research investigates the challenges facing the implementation processes. The methodology adopted in the research is a direct interview. The tsangaya schools are visited to obtain primary data on the implementation status as well as the nature of running the affairs of the schools. Accordingly, statistical data about the school is obtained from Federal and State Ministries of Education. The research found that there are thirty-five Quranic schools under the program across the state. Also, there has been an effort to integrate formal education in such schools. The research learned that, among others, problems surrounding the program include inadequate staffing, inadequate funding, and an unconducive learning environment.

Keywords: Tsangaya Schools; Almajiri; Kaduna State; Implementation; Education

Six Years of Existence of Tsangaya Schools in Kaduna State (2010-2016): An Assessment 


Sulaiman Salisu Muhammad
Department of Nigerian Languages and Linguistics
Kaduna State University


This research assesses the six years of existence of Tsangaya Schools in Kaduna State. Despite the government’s huge investment in education one still notices an increasing number of child almajiris on the streets of Nigeria, especially in the Northern part of the country. These child almajiris like any other Nigerian children are entitled to free, basic, and compulsory education. Only recently, the Nigerian government deemed it necessary to come up with the ‘Tsangaya’ Schools Program to ensure that the number of child almajiris on the streets of Nigeria is drastically reduced. As part of its effort to achieve the (MDGS) now sustainable development goals (SDGS) and (EFA) goals, the Nigerian government in 1999 launched the almajiri education program with the following objectives within the purview of the (UBE) program:

i.         Ensure unfettered access to nine (9) years of Basic Education,

ii.       The Provision of free, Universal Basic Education for every Nigerian child of School going age;

iii.      Reducing drastically the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system, through improved relevance, quality, and efficiency; and

iv.     Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative, and life skills as well as ethical, moral, and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning.

The Nigerian constitution of 1999 and the UBE Act 2004 gave both legal and policy backing to the almajiri education respectively. Section 18 (1) (3) of the 1999 constitution states that "Government shall direct its policy toward ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels."

On its part, the UBE act 2004, section 2 (1) states that ''Every government in Nigeria shall provide free compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age."

Section 15 defines basic education as: "Early childhood care and education, the nine years of formal schooling, adult literacy and nonformal education, skills acquisition programs and the education of special groups such as nomads and migrants, girl-child and women, almajiri, street children and disabled groups.”

Thus, the almajiri happens to be one of the persons covered by this act for provision of basic education. The guiding principles of the almajiri education program are derived from the provision of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as well as the national policy on education and the UBE Act 2004.

The objectives of the Almajiri education program include:

i.                    Ensuring the institutional development of Qur’anic school system and the provision of requisite infrastructural and welfare facilities, so that it functions as a true almajiri education system,

ii.                  Addressing effectively and on a long-term basis the challenges facing the traditional Qur’anic school sector, especially as they relate itinerancy and begging;

iii.                Providing viable Educational platforms and model AlmaJiri schools that could steadily and effectively integrate conventional discipline into the Qur’anic school system;

iv.                Supporting the emergence of an enabling environment that could facilitate the effective integration of Islamic discipline into the basic education program;

v.                  Producing quality products that are imbued with the discipline, moral character, effective and skills to take full advantage of available opportunities and participate effectively and meaningly in the socio-economic and political life of the nation;

vi.                Providing basic education access to all children of school age throughout the country; and

vii.              Discouraging and gradually eliminating itinerancy and almajiri street begging.

Thus, Kaduna state is among the fifteen (15) states earlier identified by the UBE Commission as early 2006, for piloting the integration of Qur'anic and Tsangaya education (IQTE) into the UBE program. Each of the pilot states was required by UBE to among others:

i.                    to form a state committee on the implementation of the integration of Qur'anic education, with representation from various relevant ministries, MDAS, and Non-Governmental Organisations,

ii.                  to obtain baseline data on existing Qur'nic Schools in respective states;

iii.                to carry out sensitization/mobilization campaign to garner support for the program; and

iv.                to identify basic needs for the schools.

Accordingly, therefore, a state implementation Committee was formed with the following Membership as required by the law:

i.                    Jama`atu Nasirul Islam (JNI),

ii.                  Ministry of Education;

iii.                Bureau for Religious Matters (Islamic);

iv.                Office of His Excellency, the Executive Governor, represented by his adviser on Religious matters (Islamic);

v.                  Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN);

vi.                Millennium Hope (NGO);

vii.              Educational Resource Centre (ERC);

viii.            State Universal Basic Education Board as Secretary; and

ix.                The State Association of Alarammas

Immediately it was formed, the Committee carried out various activities, major of which were:

a.       Carried out a baseline survey of all Qur`anic Schools in the 23 local Government Areas of the state,

b.      Conducted sensitization/mobilization meetings and visits to Emirs, Chiefs, Religious and opinion leaders and Alarammas in the state; and

c.       Identified 35 Qur'anic Schools across the state as pilots to kick-start the program in the state.

As a way of further support to the integration of Qur’anic and Tsangaya Education (IQTE) program the state government in 2009, then under the leadership of his Excellency the Vice-president Arc. Muhammad Namadi Sambo, the then governor of Kaduna state, initiated the establishment of a model Almajiri Boarding Primary School at Marabar Gwanda, in Sabon gari local government Area. His successor, his Excellency, late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, who was also an ardent supporter of the IQTE program, and indeed quality education in general, facilitated the official commissioning of the school on 5th May 2012.

How far is the acceptability or otherwise of this program in Kaduna State remains unknown. To the researcher’s knowledge no attempts have been made to assess the implementation of the Tsangaya Schools Program in the state. It is against this background that the present research is set in motion.

Aims and Objectives

This research aims to assess the six (6) years of existence of Tsangaya education in Kaduna state. The main objectives of this research are as follows:

i.      To find out the extent to which teachers of Tsangaya Schools in Kaduna State have so far adjusted to the new program,

ii.     To ascertain the level at which the Tsangaya Schools Program in Kaduna State has impacted on both the teachers and the pupils;

iii.    To ascertain the number of academic and non-academic staff, and pupils of Tsangaya schools, under SUBEB in Kaduna state;

iv.   To look into the achievements so far recorded in the implementation of the Tsangaya Schools Program; and

v.       To ascertain the challenges presently facing the Tsangaya Schools Program in Kaduna State.


This research involves: (a) Fieldwork and library research. The fieldwork was in the form of visits to Federal and State (Kaduna) Ministries of education (SUBEB) to get acquainted with policy matters regarding the Tsangaya Schools program;

(b) the researcher Visited some selected Tsangaya Schools in Kaduna State for physical assessment of infrastructural facilities as well as discussing with some teachers and pupils to air their view on the implementation of the program; and

(c) The researcher also had an inter-reaction with other stakeholders on the implementation of Tsangaya Schools Program.

Research Findings

Based on the assessment carried out from the inception of the Tsangaya system of education in Kaduna state, data indicates a remarkable impact on the people of Kaduna state which shows a lot of achievements so far been recorded since the flag-off of this program. Some of these achievements are as follows:

Identification of 35 pilot Quranic Schools and posting of teaching Staff to the same Schools by the State

a.       The Involvement of the Alarammas to manage the Schools, and

b.      Payment of N9,000 as a quarterly allowance to the 35 Alarammas of the pilot Schools. This improved effective teaching and learning.

Establishment of Maraban Gwanda Bilingual Model Boarding Primary School:

As a way of further support to the integration of Qur’anic and Tsangaya Education (IQTE) program, the state government in 2009, then under the leadership of his Excellency the Vice-president Arc. Muhammad Namadi Sambo, initiated the establishment of a model Almajiri Bilingual Boarding Primary School at Marabar Gwanda, in Sabon gari local government Area. His successor, his Excellency, late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, who was also an ardent supporter of the IQTE program, and indeed quality education in general, facilitated the official commissioning of the school on 5th May 2012. As it is today, the school has an enrolment of 186 pupils, 82 graduated in 2015/2016 and the school has 35 teaching and non-teaching staff.

Integration of formal education into the Almajiri Schools

The implementation of this program, involved the following:

i.                    Regular feeding of the Pupils,

ii.                  Provision of instructional materials, uniforms, and other requirements to the School;

iii.                Collaboration with ESSPIN in the provision of Basic education in 181 Tsangaya Schools by way of:

a.       Facilitating the formulation of a State Almajiri/inclusive Education Policy Framework,

b.      Engagement of 246 Volunteer Teachers and payment of N4,000.00 as a monthly allowance to each Volunteer Teacher who were screened, trained, and posted to the Schools presently working;

c.       Supply of instructional materials to the schools such as textbooks for English, Mathematics, and Social Studies, water containers and learning materials; and

d.      Introduction of a farming scheme for the Alarammas, to enable them farm to produce food products to feed themselves; thereby discouraging begging. This involves supporting them with seeds, fertilizers, herbicides as well as consultants/extension workers. However, few of the Alarammas choose the N3,000 as a monthly allowance instead of the farming scheme.

 Major Challenges Facing the Program

The major challenges facing the scheme are:

i.                    Irregular attendance of Almajiris,

ii.                  Drop out of some Almajiri from the school base on migration;

iii.                Inadequate teachers of western education in some of the schools that have more than a hundred Almajiri with only one teacher, that is teacher-student ration;

iv.                Inadequate instructional materials in some of the schools;

v.                  Lack of conducive teaching and learning environment as a result of absents or shortages of toilets, tables and chairs, and classrooms; and

vi.                Inadequate funding for the program.

ESSPIN Support Program

Education Sector Support Program in Nigeria (ESSPIN) has been supporting the integration program in these 9 local government areas in Kaduna state:


Local government Area

No: Of. Schs





















U/Area 14 R/Area



Kaduna North





Kaduna south


























Number of urban Schools in these 9 local government Area is= 55

Number of the pupils in the urban area = 3, 319

Number of rural schools in the 9 local government Area =135

Number of the pupils in rural area = 17, 048

Total Number of pupils in the 9 local government area 20,367


A baseline survey which was carried out in 2008 established 35 pilot Tsangaya

Schools in 23 local government areas of Kaduna state. Thirteen (13) are

located in the urban area. While the remaining twenty-two, (22) Tsangaya

Schools the location was a rural area.

While the Number of Qur`anic Schools recorded is 5,108

Number of Alarammas /Teachers 7,768

Number of pupils 196,249

ESSPIN Support Program

The summery under this support in Kaduna state we have the followings:

Total number of Tsangaya schools in the 9 local government in Kaduna state = 190

Total Number of Students = 20,367

Schools Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB

Number of schools under the board 238

Number of students under the board14,629

Number of teaching staff under the board 274

Number of Non-Teaching Staff 325



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