Alhaja Maryam Garba, the Permanent Secretary in the Kwara Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, has called for the declaration of state of emergency in the education sector in order to tackle the declining reading culture.
Garba made the call on Monday in Ilorin while declaring open the 2019 Annual Readership Campaign organised by the National Library of Nigeria, Kwara branch.
The theme for the campaign is: “Reviving Moribund Culture of Reading in Nigeria for Sustainable National Development: A stimulant for Cultural Development.”
She said the declaration was imperative if the government was determined to build the capacity of students as well as that of the nation.
”You cannot build people’s capacity without them reading books and the reading culture we have in Nigeria now is appalling and sad.
”It is not only students that need to read, even adults and professionals should continue reading till they breathe their last.
”But it is unfortunate that we have lost it all because we have gone lazy and no longer do the needful, ”Garba said.
She urged parents to cultivate the habit of gifting their children books during celebrations.
”It is the way the children are trained that they turn out to be, so, as parents we should try to build an egalitarian society,”the permanent secretary said.
Dr Moses Ibeun, Head of Department, Library and Information Science, Kwara State University, Malete, in his keynote address, urged the National Library of Nigeria to mastermind the formation of reading clubs in primary and secondary schools to address the challenge.
”We need to start from the root which is the primary and secondary schools by setting up reading clubs which will be voluntarily joined by the students.
”Pupils need to acquire the technique of reading from the early stage because 60 percent of our graduates now are unemployable.
”So, to ameliorate the poor products we have, we need to improve reading habits, ”he said.
The National Librarian, Prof. Lenrie Aina, represented by the Chief Librarian, Kingsley Egbulonu, said the 2019 theme was apt in order to revive the reading culture obtainable in the 60s and 70s.
Egbulonu said it was to ensure that knowledge was acquired and applied for sustained national development.
”Knowledge which can only be acquired through reading is the force that drives national development,” Aina said.