BY CALEB AYANSINA
FEDERAL Government, parents and guardians have attributed the poor performance of students in the recent Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result released by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to their poor reading habit.
They, however, noted that authorities should share the blame as the result was also a reflection of the country’s education system.
They stated this at the official launching of ‘Readers 100 Project’ of B & B Livres Publishers aimed at promoting the reading culture in Nigeria, which took place in a book shop in Abuja, with the National Libraries of Nigeria, Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, the Federal Ministry of Education among other notable organisations in attendance.
The Secretary-General of Nigerian National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Mrs Anene-Maidoh bemoaned a situation where reading was only accorded attention during examinations, saying students spend more time on social network than reading.
Represented by her Sector Secretary, Mrs Oguah Florence, the Secretary-General also blamed parents and guardians for the students’ abysmal performance, noting that some children are left at the mercy of housemaids.
“The poor performance of our students has been blamed on their poor reading habit. The crucial role of parents as the first level of contact with the children is on the verge of collapse, as many parents hardly spend time with their children and wards at home to groom them academically, spiritually, morally and socially.
“The foundational orientation, as critical as it is, is usually lacking or left in the care of house helps, who may also require attention.
“I wish to stress the need for parents, religious bodies, the media, NGOs and Civil Society organisations, to actively participate in the nascent crusade to restore the reading culture in the Nigerian society to build a democratic and cohesive society,” she urged.
In his remarks, the Initiator of the Project and Author of If I Rule the World, Mr. Femi Oluwafemi said the project was designed to promote reading as alternative to highly promoted consumerist entertainment.
According to him, the project is 100 different ways of promoting reading. It will encourage book clubs in schools, saying that browsing entertains while reading engages the mind.
He said the project would work with libraries, educational institutions, governments, public and private organisations to promote and encourage the culture of reading in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the President of Abuja Literary Society (ALS), Sir Victor Anoliefo said Readers 100 Project was essentially initiated to lay emphasis on an ability of mind to give a good idea, adding that, the power of book is the foundation of knowledge.