•Shekarau, former education minister, canvasses for online Islamic University in Nigeria
From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
Former Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau has lent his weight to the establishment of an online Islamic University in Nigeria. The Minister, also a one- time governor of Kano State, made the suggestion during the reception of a renowned Islamic scholar, Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, at his Bompai residence in Kano.
Speaking at the event, Mallam Shekarau described the visit as historical for the very reason that that it offered an opportunity to interact with a Muslim brother as well as provided an platform to exchange and cross fertilize ideas with him in respect of promoting the cause of Islam and the wellbeing of Muslims across the world.
Attendance at the event was impressive. It included community leaders, Imams, Islamic scholars and a host of associates of former governor. The event was also graced by no less a religious leader than Prof. Nasiru Zahadeen, who is both the Chief Imam of Kano as well as a one-time Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano.
Mallam Shekarau admitted that, “the online study is a great opportunity for adults to access education. And I am sure that by the time the online studies become a matter of policy in Nigeria, it would better for all of us.”
He applauded the Qatar–based, Jamaican born scholar for his inspiration to establish an online Islamic University as well as his contribution to the process of islamization of education, saying that education is the greatest weapon of inspiring change in any society.
He acknowledged the fact that Nigeria was yet to come up with a policy programme for the establishment of online universities but expressed delight that the scholar had opened up discussion with the National Universities Commission (NUC) in that regard.
“Some of you may be surprised when he said that his university has a registration of over 300,000 students,” Shekauru said. “You begin to wonder because what comes to your mind is our conventional, residential university. You will be wondering where he would house these students. They are all studying from their homes, from their work places, which is a very good way of promoting education. Learning never ends until you get to your grave.”
In his response, the visitor admitted that although he had been in Nigeria on previous occasions, he was meeting the former Education Minister for the first time. He explained that his university, a purely Islamic Institution, was founded in 2007and had within the nine years of its existence, enrolled over 300,000 students.
He also said that his University was largely a charity organization, adding that many of his students were admitted free of charge to run diploma programs. Out of the 300,000 plus students, he said, 294,000 were studying at no cost at all.
He said that apart from degree courses in Sharia, they offered courses in education, banking and finance, mass communication and Information technology among others stressing that these courses were all taught from an Islamic perspective.
Speaking at Bayero University, Kano, the day after, he noted that Islamic values have greater role to play in the transformation of nations and society. In his paper entitled, “Changing Nations Through Education,” he held that knowledge and education were twin elements that bring about the much-needed social change and build up civilizations. He, therefore, charged nations with higher percentage of Muslims to leverage on this to actualize their dream of development through the integration of Islamic values in their educational curriculum and process.