Reading Problem in the Arab Youth
“All leaders are readers” is a quote by Harry S. Truman that we hear often, and perhaps, think that it is true only for individuals. But it will be perfectly conformed to this quote to say that leading nations have readers. A little investigation to some statistics about reading in the Arab world will confirm what some Arabs see as “reading crisis” that prevents Arabs become a leading force in progresses made around the world. In the first place, there are a huge number of individuals who are suffering from illiteracy in the Arab world. At 2005, illiteracy rate reached 37% of the total population. In 2013, however, the illiteracy rate is about 27% of the total population which means that the number of illiterates has dropped significantly. But actually the problem is much more profound than illiteracy rates. There is an obvious lack of reading culture among literate people of all ages even among those who had a good education opportunity and maybe have a higher academic degree. Finding good practical solutions for this problem is the most important point on this issue and this will be the focus of this essay. Obviously, the Arabs who can read are not good readers. According to surveys done by researcher Ahmed Ksibi, from the Tunisian information studies college InstitutSupérieur de Documentation de Tunis, Arabs are readers of modest appetite. The survey was conducted in 9 Arab countries, and it showed that 3 out of every 4 literate Arab persons read regularly. However, 90% of the regular readers read only newspapers and magazines (2009). Dr. Shaden Abu Saleh, the chairperson of the general courses department at Prince Sultan University, said when we asked her about her students “the majority of my students say that they only read newspapers and magazines and that they spend many hours reading blogs and tweets”. She also said that she had noticed the effect that lack of reading has on their intellectual level...
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