THE CENTENARY EVENT AT MARKAZ; ISSUES OF URGENT ATTENTION
The Centenary Event At Markaz; Issues of Urgent Attention
By Abdul-Ganiyy, Raji
The prodigious Late Shaykh Adam would have been a little above 100 years if he were still alive this year. The demise of Shaykh Adam in 1992 created a wide gap within the Islamic landscape in Yoruba land in particular and Nigeria in general, which is yet to be filled till date. The achievements of this great sage in the area of Islamic scholarship are too good and too sublime to be ignored. As a matter of fact, it does not matter whether one is a student or graduate of Markaz before one can acknowledge that Shaykh Adam was a once-in-a-lifetime scholar.
It is an incontrovertible fact that Shaykh Adam was a man of many parts, a multi-disciplinary scholar, an eloquent speaker, a prolific writer, an astute mentor, a shinning model and an effective knowledge disseminator. Nothing can better prove the intimidating credentials and posture of this scholar than the quality of his students, especially those who had personal contact with him as students. Such brilliant students of his include the Late Founder of Dar-ad-Da’wah, Shaykh Mustafa Zuglul, the Late Founder of Markaz-at-Ta’limil-‘Arabi wal-Islami, Ilorin, Shaykh Murtada Yahya Agodi, Shaykh Sulayman Raji of Ansarud-Deen, Former Dean of the Faculty of Education, Unilag, Professor M.A Bidmos, Former VC of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Professor RMD Abubakar, Former VC of Unilorin and Current JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, Imeddiate Past Dean of the Postgraduate School, Unilorin, Professor ‘Lanre Badmus and a host of others who are setting the trend and the pace in their chosen careers.
No discussion of the story of Arabic Education in Nigeria can ever be complete or meaningful without a befitting mention of the colossal role of Shaykh Adam, whose days and nights were fully dedicated to ensuring that Arabic Education was given its deserved attention in the scheme of things in the country. Shaykh Adam established his famous school for this purpose. He lived and died for this purpose. His ultimate goal was to see that Arabic Education was not committed to the dirty bin of oblivion in Nigeria. This goal he achieved during his time while his students also sustained it after him. Shaykh Adam defended Arabic and its practitioners. He fought for the welfare of teachers and graduates of Arabic. It is on records that through the efforts of Shaykh Adam, the graduates of private Arabic Schools were for the first time absorbed into Civil Service during the Jakande-Led Government in Lagos State. Following this effort of Shaykh Adam, graduates of Arabic Schools became proud salary-earners and respected members of their families. A great achievement, you would say.
As the centenary event is billed to commence this week, I wish to highlight some of the challenges that Arabic Education is currently facing in Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland, with a view that the centenary event will serve as a good platform to address them.
1. The Government does not make any provision for the welfare of the teachers of private Arabic schools, and this reality is fast eroding the passion of these teachers for learning and teaching.
2. There are no job prospects for graduates of private Arabic schools in Nigeria, especially in Yorubaland
3. The number of graduates being churned out by the various private Arabic Schools keeps getting higher yearly.
4. Most Arabic schools in Yorubaland lack the facilities required in a 21st century school.
5. There is zero attention to capacity building or seminars for teachers in most Arabic schools. The reverse is the case in Western-oriented schools.
6. The syllabi in operation in most Arabic schools are obsolete and in need of partial or total overhauling.
7. Most Arabic schools in Nigeria are not affiliated to any university as a way of ensuring the seamless transition of their students to higher institutions after graduation.
8. Most Arabic schools pay zero attention to preparing their students for the challenges of life after graduation.
9. Due to lack of legitimate means of making ends meet, a good number of graduates of Arabic schools are now professional herbalists and oracle-men.
10. The various Arabic schools in Yorubaland operate in isolation, instead of collaborating with other Arabic schools for mutual benefits.
11. Most Arabic schools were established solely for exploiting unsuspecting parents through the instrumentality of Walimatul-Qur’an, etc. They lack well-defined goals and objectives.
12. The biting challenges of joblessness have turned many graduates of Arabic schools to beggars and praise-singers for politicians and moneybags.
13. The Arabic graduates of these days lack the patience and endurance exhibited by the graduates of yesterday. The graduates of today want to get rich quickly.
14. The Arab countries that offer study scholarships to Nigerian students are not providing employment opportunities for such students in their countries after graduation.
15. The quality of Arabic Education has dropped drastically in Nigeria. This fact can be confirmed when one looks at the quality of today’s Arabic graduates.
16. Most current graduates of Arabic do not want to acquire Western Education or learn any vocation to support their Arabic Education.
The list is inexhaustible but I will pause here for paucity of space and time. I hope the centenary event will look at all or some of the issues raised above and subsequently seek to address them effectively.
May Allah forgive Shaykh Adam and increase His mercy on him. May Markaz and all Arabic schools continue to grow from strength to strength. Amin.
Rajab 29, 1439 AH/April 15, 2018
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