READING AS A TOOL FOR QUALITY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA
Shidi, Hungwa and Digitemie-Batubo, Beleudaara
Department of Library and Information Science
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
A paper presented at a one day seminar organised by Nigerian Library Association, Benue State Chapter at Benue State Library Board, Makurdi, Benue State on 31st may, 2011.
Quality education is a combination of many factors including economic or financial status of the family, competent teachers, relevant curricula, and equitable resource allocation. The combination of these will produce beneficiaries who can read and write effectively (have functional literacy). Reading is so central to education that quality education cannot be achieved without the ability of the learner to read and in fact without it, learned knowledge fades away. This paper therefore, quality education as one that is able to meet the goals of education and whose beneficiaries are able to achieve good quality of life. The paper also discusses the benefits of reading as well as the different ways that can be employed in order to improve reading among different levels of education/learners. The role of the library in achieving quality education through reading is also explored. Challenges of reading are highlighted and solutions proffered with a call on government and the private sector to assist in providing a suitable environment for reading.
Education is one of the greatest tools that shape human behavior and enhances the status of an individual. It is carried out both in formal and informal settings. The formal system is defined by the Encarta premium dictionary (2009) as “formal teaching and learning as conducted through schools and other institutions”. The informal system is the opposite of the formal where instructions are received outside the formal classroom settings. Generally education is defined by Igbuzor (2006) as conscious, direct, incidental and indirect efforts made by a given society to accomplish certain objectives that are considered desirable in terms of the individual’s own needs as well as the needs of the society where that education is based. Whether education is formal or informal, efforts must be made to achieve some objectives which could be individual, societal or national. Though the informal system of education is still in existence, formal education has taken precedence over informal education in Nigeria. The formal system which has become the most popular is highly dependent on reading and produces literacy as the end product. A literate person is one who is able to read and write. This is because of the importance attached to certificates and for the reason that, education is perceived as the passport for a good living (Eno, Uduak, Mbaba, Udosen and Enang, 2011). The mark of quality education is therefore measured by the ability of the educated to reason well, live well and achieve the basic objectives of society. Quality education is therefore one that is able to achieve all or a commendable percentage of the goals of the Nigerian society as well as that of the Nigerian educational system. The national educational goals which derive from the nation’s philosophy are given by the National policy on Education (2004) as follows: • To inculcate national consciousness and national unity; • To inculcate the type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society; • Training of the mind in the understanding of the world around him; and • Acquisition of appropriate skills and the development of mental, physical and social abilities and competencies as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society. The World declaration on education cited in Igbuzor (2006) considered the determinants of quality education as, the desirable characteristics of learners (healthy, motivated...
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