I was raised a Muslim and I schooled up north and in all of my years up north; at a federal government girls’ college, I never saw anyone student wear hijab.
Oh, they wore scarves or tied their heads with clothes when they needed to pray and wore their school’s beret as a covering for their heads but never hijab as part of school uniform, no!
In fact, I never saw anyone wear a hijab in any of the Federal Government Colleges in the late 70s to late 80s and in fact a bit into the 90s…(I still had contacts with the school years after I passed out) until the sharia law overtook the north and those in Muslim south began to ask themselves whether they were Islamic enough.
There was no hijab; students wore their uniforms and berets with pride; it didn’t question their faith, it didn’t question their beliefs, in fact, if you came to the assembly line, you wouldn’t know who was a Muslim and who wasn’t because some Christian students too were beret adherents.
That’s why it is called uniform, everyone looks the same!
Back then, Muslim students were free to practice their religion. During Ramadan for instance; Muslim students were given food separate from the rest of the other students; they had their fellowships, in fact some Muslim scholars came from town to teach sometimes, same for Christian students. There was peace, there was harmony, many of those girls are still staunch Muslim women today; not wearing hijab while at school hasn’t diluted their faith.
So why are my Yoruba brethren making so much noise insisting their Muslim daughters be allowed to wear hijab in missionary schools taken over by government and generally, in many schools today?
Is wearing of hijab a mandatory Islamic requirement? No
Will hijab wearing enhance their belief in Islam? No
Make them pious? No
Help them educationally? No
Improve their knowledge? No
Even Saudi Arabia does not require women to wear hijab by law in public, are you holier than the Saudis where we go on pilgrimage? No!
Why are we nursing blisters and ignoring the festering wound that has flies buzzing over it?
Shouldn’t the concern of advocates of hijab in missionary schools or any other school for that matter be to ensure that the quality of education our daughters are getting aren’t compromised; that the school facilities and curriculum are in tune with international standards; that the teachers and school authorities are doing the right thing, ensuring the students can hold their own alongside those in private schools.
Shouldn’t they be ensuring that the labs, for instance, are well equipped so we can begin to create little geniuses? That the computer class truly has functional computers not just one the teacher uses or in many cases, a drawing of a computer on faded blackboard which the teacher uses to teach; that the schools library, if there is one, is stocked with books the students can actually read to improve their knowledge?
Now I know all of these are not even in place; government owned schools are, for the most part, often neglected; students are 60 to 70 in a class that should take 35 max students; their desks and seats are broken, teachers do not often have enough chalk, many are still using blackboards when the world is using white boards and multimedia; the boarding system is crap, there are beds but no mattresses, there are toilets but no water, there’s food but it never goes round and the general ambience of most government schools is just sad.
We have seen a few lately with kidnappers exposing the quality of school facilities that enabled easy picking of these children… Why? Many of these students can’t even speak a straight sentence in English and some of these we were made to believe were writing WAEC and NECO
Now as a parent, these would have been my primary concern; not whether my kid wears hijab or not.
Dear parents agitating for hijab and causing government to shut down schools, your priorities are misplaced!
If Muslims countries like Syria and Egypt have banned hijab and face covering in public, are you holier than them?
Shouldn’t you worry about quality over mundane?
And if you insist on your wards wearing hijab, why don’t you go start your own school?
In the course of my job, I have had opportunities to talk to captains of industries, who were raised as Muslims but went to missionary schools because according to them, “the Christian schools were better run,” the teachers were better, the facilities were better, naturally, the output, quality of brains that came out were better, so everyone- Muslims, Christians, traditionalists enrolled their children in these missionary schools and everyone abided by their rules!
If you yourselves admit the government has since taken over these schools and some of the policies haven’t changed, don’t you think that formula is a winning formula, thus ensuring more Muslims would want to get their kids better educated, so why ruin it with hijab wearing or not?
Let me drive home this point with an analogy I read online years back.
Some scientists challenged God! They claimed they could create a human being just like God and in fact they claimed they could do better than God.
God humored them and showed up on the day agreed; He took dust He made and created a human being; spectators hailed God…don’t ask me who created the spectators or where they came from, don’t even ask who created the scientists contesting with God. Anyway, it was the turn of the scientists to create their own human being; they began to gather dust…Aha, God said, “Nah, go make your own dust, don’t use mine.”
That ended the contest!
I have nothing against those who want to wear hijabs, it’s their constitutional right but consider this – the schools your wards are attending are not Muslim schools, this is not a Muslim country and even if it were, hijab wearing is a personal choice that must be worn within the ambit of the laws guiding the institutions you enrolled them in and agreed to abide by its rules.
Your concerns ae misplaced, quit your yapping and focus on more important aspects of your children’s education, assuming you really are interested in getting them truly educated.