Instead of constructing more classrooms, in the midst of scarce resources, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has advised states in Northern Nigeria to use mosques to offer primary education.
He said since there are many mosques in the northern part of the country, across local governments, they could function as primary schools during the day time and in-between afternoon and evening obligatory prayers.
“By so doing, we can limit the amount we spend on schools infrastructure and devote the funds to training of teachers, which is among the critical factors that lead to positive learning outcomes,” Emir Sanusi argued.
Speaking during the combined graduation of 2,000 In-Service Teachers under the Kano state Teacher Upgrade Training Programme, the Emir maintained that the idea was feasible and cost-saving.
As proof that the idea will work, he stated that during a visit to Fez, a city in Morocco sometimes ago, he visited a mosque, which besides its traditional function as a place of worship, was also conveniently serving as a university with a structured course outlines and lecturers.
The Emir maintained that the separation of mosques from teaching of formal education contributed significantly to the notion, among misguided people, that Islam is against western education.
He, however, expressed happiness that for the first time, the government of Kano state has understood that the problem of education is not principally about infrastructure and teaching materials, but an urgent need to place more emphasis on teacher-capacity building for better learning outcomes.
The governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, told the gathering that Kano has over 3 million pupils in public primary schools, over 52,000 teachers and 6,000 public basic education schools, with multiple challenges, including that of infrastructure.
“Despite the current economic hardships, there are still ongoing construction of new schools, more renovation works in many schools, procurement and provision of essential teaching and learning materials,” he assured.
Besides, the governor stated that the administration is determined to improve the quality of human resource in the education sector for effective teaching and learning, saying “we are surely obliged to continue to demonstrate our commitment to the development of education in the state.”
Dr. Ganduje explained that his vision is to ensure that “by the end of Year 2017, all unqualified basic education teachers in Kano State will become professional teachers through Teacher Upgrade Programme and other In-Service Training opportunities.”