Author Topic: Nigeria schools walk line between Islamic and Western traditions  (Read 217 times)

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For Muslim children in northern Nigeria, memorising and reciting the holy Koran is an integral part of growing up.

Down an alleyway in central Kano, I find one of the many Koranic schools which have changed little in generations.

About 800 boys are sitting on mats chanting verses of the Koran, which they have written out on wooden tablets with short sharpened sticks, dipped in ink.

They do this for hours each day. For most of these boys, this is the only education they get.

Many come from villages far away. They board at the school where conditions are basic, to put it mildly.

Across northern Nigeria, it is estimated that about 11 million children get no access to mainstream education.

But there is a growing belief that reforms are long overdue and a broader education is essential.

"When I was growing up I didn't get any Western education. I only attended a Koranic schools like this one," says Abdurrahman Muhd, the mallam, or religious teacher, as he shows the students how to write the Arabic script.

"But we have to change to compete with the challenges of modern society."
Fatima Fatima says she wants to be a doctor or a lawyer when she grows up

When they return from afternoon prayers, about 30 of his students are given lessons in maths, Hausa, English and social sciences.

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