Poor Reading Culture among Nigerians
The way of life of a nation is influenced by the percentage of its citizen who are literate. Cuba, for example, is adjacent to the US and has the highest rate of literacy in the world. This is among the reasons why Cuba has a vibrant economy despite decades of diplomatic conflicts with the strongest nation in the world (Henry, 2004). Tracy (2008) asserts that being a former British colony, Nigeria’s literacy culture ought to be as standardized as that of the Britain. About 99% of British citizens can read and write. The same cannot be said of Nigeria. Henry (2004), states that out of the 814 million illiterate people in the world, developing countries, especially in Africa, represent a huge percentage. However, Latin America, Asia, and others are making frantic efforts to drastically reduce the illiteracy rate, but owing to the following reasons, the same cannot be said of Africa.
Tracy (2008) asserts that being a former British colony, Nigeria’s literacy culture ought to be as standardized as that of the Britain. About 99% of British citizen can read and write. The same cannot be said of Nigeria. Henry (2004), states that out of the 814 million illiterates in the world, the third world countries, most especially in Africa, have a huge percentage of these illiterates. However, Latin America, Asia, and others are making frantic efforts to drastically reduce illiteracy rate, but owing to the following reasons, the same cannot be said of Africa. Poverty: In sub-Saharan Africa, the impact of poverty is deeply felt. Only a few people live above the poverty line. About 80% of Africans live under hazardous conditions. The per capita income of an average citizen in Nigeria, “the giant of Africa” with its abundant natural resources, is two dollars. This, in no little measure, affects the reading habits of Nigerians. Many are too poor to send their children to school. They lack money to buy books and pay school fees. Corruption: Corruption has a profound effect in Nigeria. The government is trying to fight corruption, which has drastically affected Nigerians reading culture. Corruption is present everywhere in Nigeria, from government institutions to private organizations. In schools, for instance, many students prefer to indulge in immoral acts rather than face their studies diligently. Situations like trading sex for grades, sales of ungraded textbooks to students at high fees, using money to buy examination grades, and cheating in examinations abound in our institutions of higher learning. Those who engage in these infamous acts consider reading a waste of time.
Noise culture: A learning environment requires places for quiet study. Most schools are in densely populated areas, where distractions prevent the smooth flow of learning. Moreover, the “illiteracy syndrome” has an adverse effect on the psyche of many Nigerian citizens. Most people perceive noise to be an integral part of their culture.
Undue importance attached to wealth: Many Nigerian people celebrate mediocrity at the expense of intellectuals. This is manifest in our rush for material things. Some people abandon their educational careers for the pursuit of money. Many have abandoned their education in search of “quick money,” which they believe can be gotten in business or politics. Many people run away from the village schools to take up jobs in Lagos.
Lack of reading language: In many homes, the language of reading is introduced late; the first contact point of some children with this language is in school. As children grow older, reading and its associated activities become herculean. Dearth of libraries: libraries play an important role in the promotion of reading habits. However, these libraries (school and public) are either non-existant or not playing their expected role. State and local government, and proprietors of schools (government and individuals) have not complied with library provisions in the National Policy...
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