With the emergence of schools where pupils memorises the Holy Quran within few years and the students do not need to engage in street begging or other menial jobs to fend for themselves (Almajiranci) like the example of Madinatu as stated in the preceding article, the question begging for answer is why is it in spite of these Quranic schools, the parents (if truly the intention is for their children to acquire knowledge of the Quran) still prefer to send their wards to those schools where they could become beggars? What makes these Almajiri schools still attractive to the parents in spite of their obvious failures. Is it genuinely the desire to acquire knowledge of the Qur’an or are they shying away from their God given responsibilities, but opted to send them to a far away distant place?
Looking at it from the socioeconomic perspective, two factors could be considered as the reason for the almajirci. First, that the root cause has to do with the financial status of the parents. To understand this we need to understand why the country keep on producing more destitute.
The human capital is going down annually. That is to say the basic social amenities such as good roads and healthcare system, sound education, healthy water supply, employment opportunities have virtually collapsed. The more these human capital investment decline, the more we produce destitute. The collapse has affected dependency system in the sense that, the individual earnings are far too meagre to take care of oneself let alone to support others. This, despite the enormous efforts put by the man in the labor. The SME did not supply real value for the labor. For instance, a man will spend the whole day hawking from streets to streets, to earn just a little above 200 Naira. This amount is not enough to feed himself for the day. A man in this condition can not support another person. These are all the result of collapse in human capital investment. The informal sector is not organized and the government is not doing enough to arrest the situation.
The Tsagaya schools provided the poor man with the opportunity to ease himself the enormous burden of taking care of the child: food, shelter,clothing and moral upbringing. One thing that will prove this right is the fact that those schools were attended by children of poor background. For instance, it is very rare to see a well to do parent who sent their child to be an Almajiri but will instead spend money on him to acquire Islamic and Western type of education because they can afford it. We have various forms of Tsangaya schools where the pupils need not to beg. The parents will provide everything like the example of Madinatu I cited. However, the poor have no such liberty, one who barely eat to survive with no guarantee for food to eat can not afford to send his child to such schools. He is so preoccupied with what to eat rather than anything education. Therefore, it is not the desire to acquire Knowledge that push people to send their children away to Almajiri schools but a means to get rid of them to ease the burden of taking their responsibilities.
Secondly, we have established that Most of the parents who send their children away to Tsangaya schools were extremely poor. That poverty has connection with abuse of polygamy. Often times we blame the poor for their multiple marriages and excessive birthrate without giving attention to the reason behind their actions. The country have so much deprived the poor man that his only recourse is sex and therefore took solace in marrying more than one wife and bore uncontrollable number of children to ease the tension and frustration.
It’s in human nature to maximise any available avenue to satisfy one’s desires. When we look at the lifestyle of the elites, they can afford all the luxuries that life has to offer. Those who has access to public treasury, they loot to build mansions, have large closet, buy expensive cars and adopted extravagant and ostentatious lifestyle. They also have access to variety of women. This partly explain the reason why, the rich who ideally suppose to be polygamous, do not seems to care about marrying many wives and bore many children. He can keep as many mistresses as he wants, because science afford him the opportunity for abortion and ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
In case of the poor man, he has no such luxuries and the only way he has access to enjoy his life is through women – by engaging in polygamy. This way It’s natural to give birth to many children since he doesn’t have the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy. That’s the only way to vent his anger and frustration because he has no access to club, mistresses and other social activities.
Since he is poor and could not afford to take care of the children, he has to send them away to a far distant place in the name of Almajirci. All he need to do is to buy a wooden slate and a rubber bowl for the child, a sign that he is send to become a beggar. You will hardly find the children of a wealthy individual among the Almajiri.
To be continued