This paper attempts an overview of Islamic educational system in Nigeria. It examines the two key concepts which are germane to the whole discussion of the subject matter. These are educational system generally and "Islamic educational system" specifically. the paper also attempts to give an historical account of both Western and Islamic educational system in Nigeria. There is a/so a discussion of the structure of the two systems of education as well as their development. The inhibitive factors affecting the development of Islamic education in Nigeria are chronicled. Lastly suggestions are offered on how best to move Islamic educational system forward in Nigeria.
THE OVERVIEW OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IN NIGERIA
There are two approaches to looking at what the concept of educational system is. One can look at it in terms of the rung or the ladder of an educational system. In this case, there will be formal, informal and non-formal systems of education. Formal educational system has a ladder or from primary to tertiary levels of education. It is a structured education. In addition, it is pertained for specific age, time and purpose. In Nigeria, the two types of educational system that fall within the aforementioned are western and Islamic education. The second approach is to look at the concept from the perspective of its application and its tradition. In so doing, the traditional and culture of the vanguards of the system would be borne in mind. In this wise, we shall be talking about the western system of education, the eastern (Islamic) educational system and the traditional system of education. Whereas western educational system promotes a Euro-American cultural orientation, Islamic system of education promotes all that is Islamic. The traditional educational system is predicated on the tradition and culture of the society. This is why it is informal and it is as old as man himself.
Concept of Islamic Education
Many attempts have been made to define Islamic education. According to Ashraf and Hussain (1979), Islamic education entails giving instruction on purely theological mailers, such that the trainee would be able to practice the five pillars of Islam. Similarly, Mohammad (1980) opined that Islamic education is a process of self-discipline, which ensures spiritual and intellectual growth of the individual.
However, neither of the above can stand the test of our time because, we have to realize that Islamic education is not confined to ensuring the practice of the five pillars of Islam. The pillars only constitute the Ibadan aspect of the religion. Not only this, spiritual and intellectual development are but two of the three important dimensions of personality development, the definitions leave out the psychomotor domain.
We may wish to consider Islamic education as a system of education, which entails ideology concept expounding the very nature of life (here and after), and prescribing the position of man and is role on earth. In arriving at this definition, this writer is greatly influenced by the opinion of Qutub (1997) from which we can infer that Islamic education includes the doctrine and pragmatic set up which emanate from and premised on the ideological framework The framework in question entails ethics and its sustaining power, politics and its characteristics, social order and its values, economic precept and its philosophy and internationalism in its ramification.
In Nigeria today, there are sumo people who adopt a confused approach to defining Islamic education. These people deliberately refer to Islamic education as being synonymous with Islamic studies, which is just a subject in the Nigerian western-oriented educational system. The basic discernible difference is that Islamic studies is an academic subject offered in a formal school settings, whereas, Islamic education refers to the total of the upbringing of an individual within the content and context of Islam. It therefore transcends the classroom setting. It can be received formally, non-formally and informally.
SYSTEM OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
(a) Western Educational system
A discussion of the western educational system in this paper is considered necessary not only to make a comparison later, but also because of its overbearing influence on our lifestyle in Nigeria. It is increasingly becoming clearer that almost everything either depends n or draws inspiration from the Euro-Christian system of education in the country. The reason for this development may be the concomitant effect of the tragic and offensive colonization of our country by the Europeans who were Christians. The western education unlike the traditional system of education that emphasized the real acquisition of Knowledge, skills and values emphasized the accumulation of certificate. This trend has permeated all the levels of the formal system of education in Nigeria.
A look at the history of western education in Nigeria indicates that the system has its origin traced to the arrival c; the Portuguese, the first European people to set their feet on this part of Africa. According to Fafunwa (1974), the Portuguese came to the Guinea Gulf towards the end of the 15th century. The origin aim of the people who introduced Western education was both economic and religious. They wanted customers who would be able to understand them and served as interpreter. This they believe would boost their commercial activities. In addition, they felt strongly that in order to be good customers, the native must accept Christ. Hence it was their goods on the right hand, and the Bible on the left.
Expectedly, neither the attractive goods nor the strange religion could persuade the indigenous chiefs who revolted against what was regarded as unwanted intrusion into their land. The resistance of the indigenes forced the Portuguese missionaries to seek for the support of the European authorities. The assistance was readily given in the form of arms. It could therefore be said that western education became enriched in Nigeria by the use of Christian evangelism and imperialist force. The structure of early western education was built on the philosophy of the white missionaries that is production of people with limited literacy but strong Christian faith and this was why the early school were situated In the church premises (Fafunwa,1974),in furtherance of the objective, the curriculum then was nothing than the bible teachings. the level of education then was also nothing higher than elementary or what could go for a nursery school level of today. The first formal school in Nigeria was established in 1843.
The major development witnessed by western education was when the government began to intervene. The intervention came through the ordinance of 1883.since then, the government of Nigeria, foreign or indigenous has been funding western education in the country. what first started as mere grant aiding later became full recognition. As a result of the impeders from the government, western education has not only waxed stronger by the day, it became a way of life in Nigeria. Today, through informally, the structure of western education is no longer from primary to the tertiary level, there is also the nursery and pre-nursery level and even, of late, the day care dimension.
The little has been said so far about the western system of education system of education has multi dimensional implication for the Islamic educational system. If we critically examine the evolutionary trend of western education in Nigeria. It can be inferred that the system is characterized by economic consideration and subjugate tendencies. The system does not frankly acknowledge the ingenuity of the Muslim who propounded, initiated and pioneered most of the scientific and mathematical breakthrough in the contemporary world .it is also incontrovertible that the protagonists of the western system of education were non-Muslim and they were here to foist their Christianity on the Muslim and traditional believers. Up till today, there is no much difference. However to further deceive the informed Muslims the tone has changed from Christianity to secularism, a concept that is even worse and
more offensive than the formal to the Muslims. On the second characteristic, i.e. subjugate tendencies, the Christian missionaries who brought Western education were from societies that were from societies that were irredeemably capitalistic. This was symbolized by colonization of our territory and peoples and this entrenched cheating and deceit. However, an average "enlightened" Nigerian Muslim today does not realize that there is nothing positive or progressive which western education has brought which did not originate or had not earlier on been propounded or projected by Muslims
(b) Islamic Educational System
The history of Islamic education in Nigeria is the same as the history of the religion of Islam itself .This is because Islam goes to any place or community along with its own form of education (Balogun 1982; Ajidagba, 1986 and 1991). Islam, 'which predates Christianity in Nigeria, is said to have come to the country in the 11th century. It is on record that when Kanem Ummi Jilmi of the old borno accepted Islam, he established the first Quranic School in his palace. It is not a matter of coincidence or accident that Islam and Islamic education go together. The fact is that, without the Baiter the former cannot be said to have been firmly entrenched and understood. The Holy prophet was reported to have said that, if Allah wants to do good to a person, he makes him to understand the religion (Bukhari, 3:11). Therefore, there is no pretence or cover up, about the objective Islamic education. It thrives on the Islamic concept of life, here and hereafter, prescribing the individual's position and role on earth (Qutub, 1977). The structure of the early Islamic education was built o the hierarchical structure of the Islamic faith. The first and the only reference and rallying point is Allah, the Creator and the , the starting point is to learn how to recite AI-Qur'an, the words of built. The early Islamic recitation, a student would then begin to study further under an erudite Mallam (teacher) who may not necessarily be the only teacher to handle the student till he himself becomes highly knowledgeable in the field.
In Nigeria, the Ansarul-lslam Society of Nigeria, a foremost Islamic society and the first Islamic organization in the North, which was established in 1942, is credited for being the vanguard of the formal Islamic system of education in Nigeria. Until the society introduced the formal school system, whereby students sit on benches in a typical classroom manner, Islamic education was handled non-formally in the residence of the Mallam. It should be pointed out here that there had not been either any form of government assistance or foreign aid to Islamic education continued location as at that time. In spite of this segregate attitude of the government, however, Islamic education continued to grow along with the increasing population of Muslims in the country. The scenario today is that of a complete transformation of the system, a wholesome improvement on the pioneering effort of the Ansarul-lslam society of Nigeria. Islamic educational system now competes with its western counterpart in structure and infrastructure.
We now have the Ibtidai up to Jamiah levels (Primary to University). Similarly, there are many Islamic educational institutions that have all the paraphernalia of the modern school system such school operate programmes and activities on terminal basis, go on short and long vacation and have incorporated co-curricular activities into their programmes. Yet, the government of Nigeria especially at the federal level has not deemed it lit to accord Islamic education in the rightful recognition.
Factor inhibiting the Development of Islamic Education in Nigeria
'The factors militating against the development of Islamic education are multifarious but, they are all artificial and not, therefore, insurmountable. They could be grouped as relating to government, the proprietors, parents, the society and the media. Government
A paper of this nature cannot adequately do justice to the inhibitive roles successive governments have played on Islamic education in Nigeria. On funding, the government not only fund Western education., it has also taken over its full control. So, what started as mere grant-in aid soon graduated into full take-over. This alone has a negative consequence on the be said, at this juncture, that no right- thinking person would literally condemn the content of western education because, after all, it the English version of all that had already been known to the Muslims years back. The point, however is that its incursion into this country with strong connection with Christianity has led to dislocation of the older Islamic order in traditional Muslim society.
it has been repeatedly said that Muslims constitute a large percentage of Nigerians. In order to be fair and just to this large Muslim population, Islamic education should be accorded a more dignified attention than it is presently being given. Even, if only for spiritual and moral development, which the National Policy on Education (1981) advocates for, government should be more interested in Islamic education.
(b) Muslim Proprietors
The problems being created by the proprietors of Islamiyyah schools for Islamic educational system can be likened to a proverbial kola nut the problem of which is the parasitic insect in it. The problem is multi-dimensional. Dishonest proprietors go to some Arab countries' governments or philanthropists, cap-in-hand, to seek financial assistance only to come back home to divert such assistance 10 personal use. Some also go to the ridiculous level of selling the valuable Islamic textbooks given them for the propagation of Islam and the development of Islamic education. The worst category is the absentee-proprietors who do not have 1/10 of the students and facilities they claim to have and would do one launching after the other in the name of development of their institutions. More worrisome is lack of unity among the proprietors even Within the same locality This made it impossible for them to have a forum to articulate their views on how to move the system forward.
(C) Muslim Parents
Muslim parents of students in Islamiyyah schools have their own share of the problem. The disdainful manner in which students attending Islamic schools are treated does more harm than any other. An average Nigerian Muslim parent does spend heavily on Western education for their children. Some take Islamic education as secondary; while some send to Islamic schools, the children who, in their opinion and conclusion, cannot mentally cope with Western education or who have one form of disability or the other.
(d) The Society
What is happening in the society is a reflection of what happens in the family. The Nigerian society does not see any thing beneficial in the Islamic system of education other than the religious knowledge. There is an impression that anybody undertaking Islamic education can only function either as a full time Ma/lam (a teacher) with teaching being a profession that is already looked down upon. Not only this, in some religiously hostile communities, Islamic education is derisively regarded as education for the Al-majiris (corrupt form of AI-Muhajirin), which originally means the immigrants but misconstrued to be beggars. No thanks to some Muslims who have upgraded begging to an art and a profession. Unfortunately too, Numerous uninformed Muslims have been persuaded by this anti- Islamic posture. In Yoruba land there is what people derogatorily called elo lntel'Afa - meaning, it is an indolent that follows a Maljum. And as if to lend credence to the saying, it is a common thing to see pupils that are put under the care of some Mallows for Islamic upbringing, going about begging. It is high time we turned things around for Islamic education. It is our collective responsibility to enlighten the populace that Islamic education is a utilitarian education (Ajidagba, 1991).
(e) Mass Media
The most dean Active and vociferous attack on Islamic education or anything Islamic is always championed by the mass media in Nigeria, A keen watcher of events may not be too astonished about this situation because, the Nigerian press can aptly be described as a Christian press, for the simple reason that Christians own or control over 90% of the media outfits (print or electronics) in the country. The comparative edge the Western educational system has over its Islamic counterpart can be credited to the ceaseless propaganda of the press. Even when muslims have been the President or Heads of Stale, there has been overt and covert government backing of the press. Whereas, the mass media is a strong agent of education and mobilization, as far as Islamic education is concerned, it is a combative agent of mis-education and Demobilisation. To arrest the trend, the gifted
Muslims should brace up to the challenge by willing vocational articles, while the rich Muslims should be encouraged to establish media outfits that could assist in this direction.
If it is agreed that the Western system of education has come to stay in Nigeria and has even, to say the least, westernized our ways of life, there is the urgent need to find ways of moving Islamic education forward in order to guarantee its future. One area that must be explored, and very urgently too, is integrating Western education with that of the Islamic system. 1110 integration, which should be in the area of learning experiences, must be done with a view to producing "double-baked" citizens. That is, students who would be versatile in both Islamic and Western education without any jeopardy to the former. Giving the present scenario in the country, this, to my mind, remains the only viable approach to re-launch Islamic education back to prominence. Some subject should be introduced into the Islamic schools and taught in English language (such as Mathematics, economics, Integrated scienc3, Geography and English Ianguage itself). In the light of the foregoing, it is strongly suggested that a curriculum conference be summoned to assemble the representatives of all stakeholders in Islamic education. The conference would fashion out curricular for the different levels of Islamiyyah schools. To have a rewarding conference, mass enlightenment should be mounted to educate, especially the proprietors of Islamiyyah schools, on the benefits of such a gathering.
Another area that needs attention is staff training and retraining. The appalling situation whereby teachers in our Madaiis (school) and Macahid (learning centers) are not exposed to modern trends in pedagogy should be redressed. Some of these teachers just pick up the chalk, in most cases, after graduating from the same school where they are teaching. There should be a way of giving teachers in our Islamiyyah schools basic education courses. In the interim, induction/refresher courses, workshop and seminar, could be organised to take care of this important aspect of the system
Government should be involved in certification. This will put to an end derogatory valuation of certificates from Islamiyyah schools. It is saddening that, in some slates, holders of certificates from Islamiyyah institutions are placed one derisive salary grade levels as low as 02 or 03. Our ministries of creation should take over the certification as a follow-up to the harmonization of the curricula.
Co-curricula activities such as Club and society meetings should be encouraged in the islamiyyah schools. There should be football learn as well au other spoiling activities. these activities help in no small measure to develop a child cognitively, affectively and in psychomotor. Besides they also give him the Islamic alternatives to what he is exposed to outside the school environment.
This paper discussed two perspectives from which one can look at systems of education. These are from the ladder or level of the system and the vanguards and culture a system permeates. While western education, as a system which has four levels of primary, junior secondary, senior secondary and tertiary, permeates the Euro-Christian orientation, Islamic educational system which also has four levels of Ibtidai, Idadi, Thanawi, and Jamiah, permeates Islamic tradition. Western education has been enjoying government patronage, which has had great negative impact on Islamic education, which is still begging for recognition. The inhibitive roles being played by all the agents of education on Islamic education should be a source of serious worry to all stakeholders in the system. However, with unity of purpose among the
Proprietor uniform curricula, government recognition that would culminate in certification there is still hope for a flourishing Islamic educational system in Nigeria.
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