The continuous quest for knowledge commands a breakthrough over the doors of hidden truth. We are familiar with the popular phrase “Knowledge is power”, which is usually attributed to Sir Francis Bacon because of his description of knowledge as contained in his Meditations Sacrae (1597). The power in knowledge is embedded in the words printed on the pages of books we sometimes qualify as ‘Ordinary‘. Knowledge with its inert power is gained through the culture of reading. Reading is the act of comprehending and assimilating words and sentences in a book. On the other hand, culture is the total lifestyle of a people. Therefore, a fundamental hidden truth discovered is that reading as a culture is a way of life. The culture of reading expands the scope of research to provide a path in discovering hidden truth. Reading as a culture gives the understanding that reading is a phenomenon of life. However, research has shown that there is a steady and gradual decline in the culture of reading especially in Nigeria.
Reading Culture in Nigeria
The deficiency in the rate of reading in Nigeria especially amongst the youths give room for the question “Is reading truly a way of life in Nigeria?”. A society with good reading culture will successfully discover the hidden truth for its development and growth. On the contrary, we continue to witness a reverse situation in Nigeria. Unfortunately, it has become worse as research and discoveries have shown that an average Nigerian youth do not have enthusiasm in reading. Reading for some persons is like undergoing an herculean task. Nigeria is rich in cultural diversity but lacking in reading culture. This has continued to be at her disadvantage especially in the areas of human capacity development, knowledge and technology transfer, societal literacy, and national development. According to the World Culture Score Index, Nigeria has been identified as one of the countries in the world with the lowest reading culture.
Furthermore, research analysis from the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education shows that 38 percent of Nigerians are non-literate as four in ten primary school children cannot read and comprehend. The poor culture of reading in Nigeria has greatly affected the quality of her human resources. For example, from the statistics above, you may find out that an average Nigerian especially within the bracket of children and youth either as a graduate, undergraduate, secondary or primary school student may not be able to independently speak fluently or construct simple sentences. A country that is not well informed will be deformed in every respect. In my years of experience in interpersonal relationship with youths of different background, I could deduce that an average youth in Nigeria would be more excited to sit for at least two hours manipulating a smartphone than sit to read a page of a book for one minute.This gives an implication that reading is no longer meaningful in our society. This is absurd!
Reading is a critical skill that can equip one for greatness. Reading has good influence on the literacy level of a country or society. Having an appreciable level in the culture of reading can boost the intellectual potency of a country like Nigeria. The knowledge gained from reading can be further applied for national development especially in science and technology, research, human capacity development and so on. Reading helps to update old knowledge and incite creative innovation. A larger percentage of the Nigerian populace are youth. With a friendly atmosphere that appreciate good reading culture, Nigeria can benefit immensely from the talent and ingenuity of her youthful population.
Reading Culture and Discovering Hidden Truth
There is a common saying that if you want to hide something from a Nigerian, put it in a book. The originator of this expression must have really figured the obvious weakness in the reading habit of Nigerians. For Nigeria to consistently discover hidden truth that can facilitate her socio- economic development, Nigeria must give keen attention to the reading culture of her citizens. A person is subjected to emotional, political, economic and intellectual slavery if there is no access to hidden truth. The moment such person advance in the the culture of reading, he/she breaks through to discover the hidden truth that concern various aspects of his/her life. Such person can confidently have the power to confront societal predators and that power is knowledge. Indeed, the is no argument that developing a good reading culture is relevant and of greater benefit.
Improving the Culture of Reading
So far on this discourse, I have drawn our attention on the frieghten decline in the culture of reading especially in our dear country Nigeria. Also, some pertinent points on the relevance and benefits of good reading culture were duly stated. Now, there is need to profer ways in improving the culture of reading in our society.
The following are some of the ways to improve the culture of reading:
- Parental Upbringing:
The home is the first school and point of learning for every child. Therefore, parents should make it a point of duty to encourage and inculcate the culture of reading in their children from their early stage of growth. This will make them adapted to good reading habit.
- Improving the Quality of Education:
We all know the saying “Education is the bedrock of development”. Education produces the knowledge that facilitates development. The government should ensure that priority is given to the educational sector by providing the needed funding to a acquire needed educational infrastructure that facilitates good reading habit among students.
- Consistent Advocacy Campaign:
The government in conjunction with relevant stack holder such as the non- governmental organizations should consistently engage students in both public and private schools through advocacy campaign to encourage good reading culture and by extension curb examination malpractice.
- Creating a Friendly Ecosystem for Reading:
The busy nature of the Nigerian ecosystem has made it unpalatable to develop an appreciable reading culture. There have to be provision of libraries spread across the length and breathe of country so people can find convenience to read, study and make research.
- Organizing Serminals and Workshop:
Serminals and Workshop should be organized for member of the academia and general public especially those within the youthful bracket for the purpose of enlightenment and training in adopting appropriate reading skill.
The essence of incentive is to make reading an attractive skill. Some persons are always of the view that reading is boring and time wasting. However, there is need to make reading relevant and lucrative through sponsorship of reading and writing competitions. Award and honorary recognition for those who have excelled in various field of knowledge.
https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/knowledge-power-quotation, article courtesy of Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Victor Okonjo is a student of Computer Engineering, Federal University of Technology Akure. He has a keen drive in the creative expression of thought and ideas through the Pen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org