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Authors’ association to advocate return of reading culture in Nigerian schools at 2018 convention



The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Lagos Chapter, on Wednesday said that the association would advocate the rekindling of the reading culture in schools in the country at its 2018 convention.

The Chairman of the chapter, Yemi Adebiyi,  made this known at the association’s “Evening with the Patrons’’, held at the Freedom Park, of the Old Prisons Ground, road Street, Lagos.

“We want to bring back the books and the reading culture. It is heartwarming to see high school students in Lagos State doing Spelling Bee Competition.

“(This is) because they know they would become instant celebrities, or One–Day Governor in Lagos State.

“It is understandable that the goal of the founder of the New Era Foundation, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, was to cultivate a continuous habit of readership and scholarship.

“ANA will be happy to partner with the New Era Foundation to make Spelling Bee a national competition that will produce a One-Day President,” he stated.

He added that at the moment, there was a huge investment in education but a “criminal” loss of interest in genuine academic pursuit and readership.

“We are proud of yesterday that belonged to Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, John-Pepper Clark and the rest. But today, new writers are not known because populations of our readers have diminished.

“Publishers have developed apathy in the business of books production and, the economic condition of writers has nosedived. Piracy issue is not adequately addressed.

“The future of writers eking their living on writing has become rather bleak.

“So sad, the government and other relevant agencies seem not to take any notice of the economic gains accruable from the writing economic sub-sector both to writers and government itself.

“Unfortunately, direct survey shows that ninety percent of what they read are irrelevant and impediments to their moral and intellectual fabrics,’’ he said.

He noted that the Lagos chapter of ANA undertsood that the head-long chase novelty was not just a feminine trait, but of youth and cosmopolity.

He said that it was for those reasons that in recent years, primary and high schools were targeted for re-orientation of the students and to encourage them to return to reading real books.

Adebiyi said that the association’s programmes such as School Debate and Quiz Competitions, Teen Authors Mentorship, and Community Reading Projects could not be executed fully due to lack of funding.

“We need a permanent secretariat where both young, old writers and lovers of literature could come regularly to rub minds and seek solutions to problems to promote advancement of the writing craft.

“History and literature are compulsory subjects in USA, Canada, Britain and many developed countries during the basic years of children in school.

“The maxim is that the child that reads volumes in literature will not be scared to read areas in all other subjects.

“Unfortunately, history and literature had been relegated to the background in Nigeria schools,” he said.

The chairman, therefore, urged stakeholders in both the private and public sectors to invest in the country’s reading culture.

Edited by: Emmanuel Yashim

Maureen Okon

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