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Why young people do not read

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Results released last week by both the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) show that students failed woefully with only three students scoring over 300 in the latter. Blessing Tunoh, traces the non reading culture among Nigerian youths to this problem and many others bedeviling our educational sector in this write-up.

Gone are the days when young people spend time in libraries reading written texts from books particularly novels to boost their vocabulary while imbibing the much needed reading culture required in their academic pursuit.
Back then, the intelligence quotient of students at all levels was measured by the number of books they have read and the quality of vocabulary spoken as every smart student always reads with a jotter and a pen, taking note of difficult words that would need to be cross checked up in a dictionary or fascinating new words he would like to practice and impress friends with.
But with the advancement of technology today which has brought information to our finger tips, very few people both old and young consider reading books more so toy with the idea of visiting a library to have some quiet and serious time of reading.
A visit to the Adamawa state Library along old market road confirms this as the building which has a sitting capacity of at least fifty persons which ideally should be considered insufficient plays host to not more than ten persons every day and even fewer on other days.
The dilapidated structure of the supposed library is the first factor that kills the interest of a potential reader as the walls are dotted with cracks housing lizards and other bizarre creatures just as most parts of the ceiling have fallen off. The remaining portion bear water patches indicative of leakages during the rainy season.
The furniture is equally old fashioned with nails sticking out while basic facilities like a lavatory is lacking. The library is always in perpetual darkness since it is not left out of the blackout experienced in most parts of the country occasioned by the ineffectiveness of the Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN). Coupled with the uncharitable hot weather in the state,the Library is almost uninhabitable.
Mr. Bakari Mayemwiso has been the state Librarian since 2010, he told Peoples Daily that save for book donations periodically received from the Education Trust Fund (ETF) and other public spirited individuals,the last supply by the state government was in 1989.
“Our major problem is lack of funding, we have complained severally to the government at different occasions and even though they keep promising to come to our aid after assessing the level of decay which is peculiar to all our zonal branches in Mubi, Ganye and Numan we are yet to feel their impact.” Mayemwiso stated.
He further lamented the deplorable state of the Library in the capital city and stressed the need for automation, renovation of the structure and putting up an e-library as promised by the state government.
“During the rainy season as you can see from the rotten ceilings we are always faced with leakages which usually destroy some of our books especially during weekends so we have to pack them in a place we consider safe-so you talk about reading culture tell me how you can get people to read in this kind of sickening environment,” the Librarian lamented.
Mr. Tendu Moses, a school teacher who has patronised the library since its inception and official take off in 1991 however says “I have not noticed any difference, I met it this way at its dilapidated state and I would say there has been some improvement in terms of books.”
Tendu believes that if the state government could introduce internet facilities like it is done in other modern libraries as well as air conditioners and fans, it would be more conducive as according to him, the environment is unfriendly and hot which make readers to  find it hard to concentrate.
“Reading culture is on the decline, something else has taken over the life of youths; films, internet, consequently they do not have time to read. The implication is that since youths are the future leaders, if it goes on like this there will be chaos in the future-so if the government can bring in the kind of books youths are interested in, it would no doubt attract some of them to read,” he advised.
He also lamented what he described as insufficient relevant reference materials thus; “sometimes I come here to seek for certain information but I don’t find it because most of the books are outdated, so I just come here to read my own books which I bring from somewhere else because I don’t find the books I need here.”
Educationists argue that the repercussion on today’s generation of students has led them to develop spelling skills largely dependent on abbreviating words and phrases, translating letters to numbers, communicating through text-based symbols and intentionally misspelling words. Students who often use online venues such as IM chat and social networking can find it difficult to adopt the more traditional modes of communication necessary to achieve passing grades.
Students who rarely depend on handwriting will find it difficult to create consistent, legible writing and will instead need to rely on typed words to communicate. This deficiency will affect both the student’s grades in handwriting-based assignments and any writing assignment.
It has now become the norm for students to frequently conduct research by using sources that lack credibility and are potentially inaccurate, such as wikis. Consequently they can end up committing plagiarism because of their confusion about accepted research methods and their lack of research skills.
Many final year students in grade schools writing their final year thesis are the most affected just as other students are prone to plagiarize obscure articles, poems or short stories for a writing class simply because they do not expect to be caught or because they expect instant success with little effort.
It is therefore little wonder how the rate of failure of national examinations and IQ tests by young people has become increasingly high; a development that educational institutions should take proactive measures to address to safeguard the future of our future leaders.

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