A Sociological Study of Illness Behaviour among Almajiri Pupils in Gombe Metropolis

Authors : Hassana, Y. Bello; Nasiru, Anas; Badiya, Mahmud

Volume/Issue : Volume 6 - 2021, Issue 6 - June

Google Scholar : http://bitly.ws/9nMw

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Almajiri is an Arabic word meaning ‘’a seeker of knowledge’’. Its origin was the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. Those who migrated with the prophet had no means of livelihood on getting to Medina except base on the fraternity established by the Prophet. They were co-opted into different trades and vocations as apprentices who were paid for their services. Islam came to northern Nigeria through traders and scholars. The system of teaching and learning Quran and Arabic started from northern Nigeria where the teachers depend on charity. This noble principle at early stage of the development of Islamic education which was implemented due to lack of adequate and qualified teachers reduced the status of the Quranic teacher to a mere beggar. No salary for the teacher and the pupils paid no fee. Today Almajiri pupils are found over all cities, towns, and villages in northern Nigeria and other parts of the country. They sleep outside the house or on the veranda of dilapidated, uncompleted buildings which also serves as their schools, hostels and class rooms in the day time. They are seen carrying plastic bowls, dressed in dirty tattered clothes and most times walking barefooted begging. The conditions of living and learning in these schools have exposed the Almajiri pupils to many health hazards affecting their health status. The study found out that most of the Almajiri pupils are from poor socio-economic ‘family background. They are also from polygamous families that are over populated. Common diseases affecting the pupils include malaria, Typhoid, skin diseases, cold, catarrh, and cough. Strategy for coping with illness most times is self medication from money realized through labour in nearby houses. The teacher’s role is to teach the Almajiri pupils Quran and Arabic. Their feeding, health care and shelter is entirely their business. To save the future and health of these children, the study recommends government intervention in terms of policy where government takes control and enacts strict guidelines, rules and regulations guiding the operation of Quranic/Islamiyya boarding and day schools. Government should mandate the proprietors of Almajiri schools to register and comply with all rules and regulations guiding the establishment of boarding schools in Gombe state. This should include the provision of infrastructure like class rooms, hostels, feeding and a sick bay. Any proprietor who fails to meet government specification should not be cleared to operate a boarding Almajiri pupils schools. Failure to adhere strictly to government regulation should attract the full wrath of the law. Pupils can attend school and return to their parents for up-keep

Keywords : Health, Illness, Disease, Almajiri Pupil


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