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‘I started teaching English to improve literacy in the North’

Kabiru Musa Jammaje, an author, is said to be the first person to establish an English Language school with a view to promote writing and…

Kabiru Musa Jammaje, an author, is said to be the first person to establish an English Language school with a view to promote writing and reading in English Language among Northerners, as well as to promote the reading culture in the Hausa speaking states.

Jammaje said he was driven by his passion to uplift the Hausa people; a passion he started nursing when he was still in secondary school. As a trained teacher, he said he likes everything that has to do with teaching because he loves reading.

To realize his dream, Jammaje started teaching English Language to a group of youths in his community and also based on demand, he started an evening class in one of the public schools within his community. Gradually, he became inspired by the turn out of people willing to learn. Since then, his project has expanded to almost every part of Kano State and beyond the state.

“I discovered that with that alone, people will be saved or rather rescued from the menace of illiteracy or failure in writing and reading. People requested for it, we did it and it pays. We were the first to start, despite the fact that some people have keyed into the system and started treating it as business; we don’t see it like that from our own end,” he said.

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Jammaje started his English learning academy in Kano in 2005 with less than 20 students.

Presently, he has at least 25 branches across the nation. He has branches in Kano, Maiduguri, Damaturu, Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Nassarawa, among others, with some states having more than one branch. According to Jammaje, the Academy has over 4000 students currently studying in the various branches of the school.

He revealed that when he started the school as a learning academy, he used to give his students transport fare if they did not have just to encourage them to attend the classes. “I was able to freely give transport fare to some of my students to encourage them to continue attending classes because I have other means of getting money.

I write books, take them to the market and sell, so rendering assistance to the students wasn’t difficult for me,” he stated. Jammaje’s biggest concern is the poor reading and writing culture in Northern Nigeria.

“We have seen how the southern and eastern parts have gone far in literacy, leaving us behind. Despite the fact that there are mass education schools, English is very important because in today’s world, you need the language to effectively do whatever you are doing – be it business or rendering service,” he added.

He believes that there is the need not only to be able to speak but also to be able to write and read. He singlehandedly started a school that became a household name in Kano State and in almost all the Northern states across Nigeria.

However, Jammaje said his action was based, in broad sense, on his initiative and commitment to making education accessible to all, especially the less privileged in the community. These English Language classes he established were not only affordable and accessible but also designed to cater to the diverse needs of adult learners and the young ones as well.

Moreover, the impact of his efforts doesn’t stop at national borders of Nigeria as hundreds of people from neighbouring countries have indicated interest in this initiative.

Alongside teaching the English language, Jammaje’s initiative also empowers individuals with the essential tools for self-improvement and personal growth. His vision, in this regard, he said, is aimed at reshaping the entire communities and societies by nurturing a culture of literacy and lifelong learning.

His schools also ventured into film making as a way of telling the world that the Hausas can also speak English. Jammaje became the first to introduce English films in Kannywood. According to him, the inspiration to pioneer such idea was conceived when he travelled to South Africa and Kenya.

It was while in these foreign countries that he discovered that not much is known of the Hausa language because the films that go out of Nigeria are mostly from Nollywood due to the fact that those films were done in English.

“It amazed me when I told people that I am from Nigeria and they said that they see our films showing things like rituals, 419 and all other social vices. I told them that Nigerians and Nigeria aren’t all about that. I told them about the Hausa films, but sadly they knew nothing about it. So, when I came back to Nigeria, I said to myself that I will prove to the world that Nigeria, especially the Hausa, has a lot to say about this country apart from rituals and other ill vices,” he narrated.

Born in 1979, Kabiru Musa Jammaje is a graduate of English Language from the Bayero University (BUK) Kano. He holds a Masters degree in Educational Administration and Planning, and is currently pursuing his PhD. He has authored over 200 books and has established English Learning Academy is about 16 Northern states of the federation.

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