The Bishop of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, has said that his planned elementary education empowerment for three million northern children would go on, saying it has nothing to do with Almajirai.
He spoke on Monday in Abuja during the unveiling of the digital classrooms for public primary schools in northern Nigeria organised by The Kukah Center, in conjunction with ProFuturo.
The Kukah Centre said it planned to cover two to three million students over the next five years by raising the standard of education of the children.
The Lead Consultant, Kukah Center – ProFuturo Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Michael Magaji, who represented Bishop Kukah, told newsmen during the ProFuturo Training on a Digital Classroom Project that the move was to complement the efforts of government in education service delivery by using new tools of technology with a very similar curriculum to the nation’s curriculum.
According to him, the project will be implemented in 12 northern states in Nigeria and will have over 123,000 primary school pupils, with over 5,000 teachers expected to benefit from the initial phase of the project implemented by the centre.
Magaji said there was no relationship between the programme and the Almajiri as canvassed recently by Prof. Ishaq Akintola-led Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
Daily Trust reports that the MURIC had raised the alarm after it was reported that the Kukah Centre planned to train 10 million Almajirai, saying that Kukah’s initiative to train the Almajirai in northern Nigeria was not for the interest of Muslims.
Magaji said the programme had no religious colouration whatsoever as it involved both Christians and Muslims.
He said Bishop Kukah was not even bothered whether a beneficiary was an atheist, saying that humanity is one and the idea was to promote education for national development.
“There is no relationship at all. What ProFuturo is doing has nothing to do with the Almajiri problem. The Almajiri problem, can be put in the context of out-of-school children. But this programme is not looking at out-of-school children.
“We are actually going into existing public primary schools where subjects of Science, English and Mathematics are being taught. They will continue to be taught. What we are addressing here is a national problem of education and not an Almajiri thing,” he said.
Earlier, the Director of the Kukah Centre, Rev Fr. Atta Barkindo, said that there was nothing like converting 10 million Almajiris.
Barkindo however said the centre wished it had the capacity and ability to empower such numbers, adding that it would be glad to carry out such project.
“Honestly, we will be very happy to assist and to support. But this project is basically for disadvantaged children, out-of-school children, thinking about the future of Nigeria and particularly, the future of northern Nigeria,” Barkindo said.