Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has again explained why his administration introduced the Almajiri schools programme in the Northern part of the country, stating it was meant to integrate Western education into the Islamic education curriculum, as a means of equipping the pupils with relevant skills that would make them employable.
Jonathan also added that the programme was designed to provide balanced education for the children and protect them from being recruited by criminal elements desirous of using them to achieve negative ends in the society.
The former President who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the opening session of the Africa Region International Leadership Conference (ILC) 2022, organized by the Universal Peace Federation, (UPF) also urged world leaders to promote policies, programmes and initiatives that would bring peace and harmony to our world.
Speaking on his motivation for establishing the Almajiri schools, the former President stated that although the almajiri could be very knowledgeable in the Koran, there was the need to infuse their learning with standard western style education.
He further stressed that many of them felt the society neglected them despite their deep knowledge of the Koran, a situation that could breed resentment in them.
He said: ‘Such people could harbour a certain kind of anger against the society. Our feeling was that if we allowed that culture of anger and misgiving to grow and fester, it could come to a time when it would haunt and hurt the society. This is because when people are already angry they can easily be brainwashed and used for negative ends.
“We therefore felt that the thing to do was to integrate western education with the Islamic education that the Islamic teachers were already teaching them. It was done in such a way that at the end of the day the children would have been exposed to western education and skills that are quite relevant to the society without compromising their religion.
“If we neglect them and leave them to be begging, it will come to a time when they could easily be exploited to do the wrong things.”
Speaking on the importance of the peace conference, Dr. Jonathan charged all to work collaboratively at finding lasting solutions to the challenges of our time, promote constructive dialogue and multilateral cooperation for the sake of peace and human development.
On the need for peace on the Korean Peninsula, the former President noted that the UPF had in the past years been searching for a lasting solution to the conflict in the Korean Peninsula, and other conflict zones through leadership conferences and other programmes.
He said: “The division on the Korean Peninsula which started in 1950, has overstayed its welcome. Time has come to resolve the conflicts and reconcile divided human families. As I stated in my address at the World summit 2022, the Korean people are one people, with a common history. Let us shed the differences and embrace peace. It is better to jaw-jaw than to War-War. Let us give peace a chance.
“I believe in the resilience of the Korean as well as African peoples. I charge the Korean people to approach the idea of reconciliation with the same spirit of oneness that has been the binding force of their nationals. The Koreans adopted this spirit to develop their country even with minimal natural resources. With their God-given brains, guts and sense of dedication, they were able to turn it around from an aid receiving country to aid giving country. You can do it, even on this conflict issue.”