Over time, researchers have blamed schools for not building the reading culture in children. They have accused teachers of not encouraging children to read books that are outside of their textbooks by inundating pupils with homework.
According to the United Nations, 617 million children and adolescents all over the world cannot read and do basic mathematics. In Nigeria, according to research, four in 10 children in government-owned primary schools cannot read. As if this is not bad enough, up to 8 out 10 are unable to read for comprehension, in a country where children make up over 44 per cent of the population.
Given such background, one might wonder if Nigeria is fit to celebrate this year’s World Book Day.
In a latest research, parents have also been blamed for not promoting the reading culture in their homes. The lack of a home library or failure on their part to purchase books that are not textbooks, as well as not reading to children, are a few reasons given for the dwindling reading culture.
In the last World Development Report 2018 titled Learning to Realise Education’s Promise, World Bank lead economists, Deon Filmer and Halsey Rogers recommended policy steps to help developing countries resolve their dire learning crisis.
In their report, the pair suggested increased accountability and political will for education reform.
“In the areas of stronger learning assessments, using evidence of what works and what doesn’t to guide education decision-making, and mobilising a strong social movement to push for education changes for ‘learning for all’ are key.”
The report further contained three policy recommendations:
-the need for developing countries to measure learning at the end of primary and lower secondary school;
-attract highly capable people into teaching and
-keep them motivated by tailoring teacher training that is reinforced by mentors.
In the Nigerian School Library Journal, study authors, K.A Saka, A.M Bitagi and S.K Garba, stated that the “major problems affecting the formation of reading culture include; lack of library period in the school timetable and lack of a library in homes.”
”Primary school children be given orientation in the role of reading in the overall development of mankind. Standard school libraries with well-stocked reading materials should be provided in all primary schools within the metropolis.
Parents should also be encouraged to establish a well-stocked library in their homes to complement- school libraries,” the study recommended.
At the Laterna Ventures book reading event to mark the World Book day, the author of 40 Pearls of Wisdom, Cresta Durojaiye, said parents could donate their children’s used books to underprivileged children of the society.
Durojaiye also encouraged parents to find time to read to their children no matter how short the time, so as to build a love of books in them.
She further suggested that authors of children’s books could donate books to children who cannot afford them, while the privileged part of society paid the difference.
For schools, the founder TOS Educational Initiative, Mrs Tai-Ololade Salvador urged school proprietors to create book clubs to enable children to cultivate a good reading culture early in life.
During a World Book Day programme organised by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency and TOS Educational Initiative, also on Thursday, in Ikeja, Lagos, Salvador told the News Agency of Nigeria that the country’s literacy level could only be improved when children’s interest in reading was ignited through the establishment of functional book clubs and libraries in public and private schools.