At book launch, experts canvass improved reading culture
As part of efforts aimed at improving reading culture among students, curb illiteracy and promote academic excellence, Adetoun Akitoye has authored a book, How Students Can Fly In Colours.
At a community reading programme and launch of the success guide last week at the Mushin Local Council hall, encomiums were poured on Akitoye for a job well done. The lady, who is founder of Mademoiselle Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, had earlier launched the Give-To-Schools Project in Ilorin with the aim of distributing 5000 copies of the book to public school students.
The event also featured reading from the book and a presentation on ‘Encouraging Literacy in Communities and helping students strive for academic excellence’.
The Vice Chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors, Lagos chapter, Mr. Olu Okekanye, commended Akitoye for putting such a work together to help students.
He spoke extensively on the importance of reading, saying, “it should not be seen as boring nor should it become a punishment. It gives better academic achievement and excellence.”
He advised the students to read more as it would open their minds to the wider world, adding, “reading will make you develop the ability and maintain the motivation to read more, it makes you more active and constructive.”
While lamenting the poor reading culture in the country, Okakanye said, “a lot of Nigerian parents don’t read, and yet we expect our children to perform excellently in school.”
Prince Adesegun Akitoye, who is the acting chairman of Aiyetoro Community Development Association, Mushin, said the author had done so much for the community. Commending her efforts, he said her work was worth emulating, as it would bring development.
The Head of Department of Education, Mushin Local Council, Mrs Esther Kehinde, who read from the book, said the initiative by Akitoye was commendable, as it would go a long way in helping Nigerian students. “Our council would do all it could to assist this young talent,” she said.
On the poor reading culture in the country, Kehinde said it had become a common phenomenon in Nigeria. “In our days, the standard of education was high and we were never forced to read, but these days, children don’t read, and I want to attribute this to the attitude of parents; some parents neglect their children, all they think about is how to make money at the expense of their children’s future,” she confessed.
The Mushin council education boss said there was need to reorient and motivate teachers to do more than they were doing. “The government should assist the schools and parents by putting in place facilities that aid learning, and making the learning environment conducive; some schools don’t have libraries, and where they have libraries there are no books,” she advised.
Fielding questions from The Guardian, Akitoye said she was inspired to write the book as a result of her experience as a youth corps member in Ilorin, Kwara State, last year. “I was driven by student’s inability to assimilate properly, when I taught 300 students in the first term, over 250 of them failed, so, I decided to gather some success materials that could help students achieve more,” she said.
She also lamented the poor learning conditions of Nigerian public schools, which further adds to student’s poor performance. “I taught 150 students in a class, how do you expect the teacher to concentrate on each student? And some teachers cannot teach, as they teach only the theory; expecting students to only memorise without actually learning.”
Commending Lagos State, Adetoun thanked the state for prioritising education. “I know the learning cycle in Lagos is improving, but they can do more by training teachers properly,” she said.
The schools represented at the event were; Euba Senior Secondary School, Ilasa, New State High School, Mushin, Odusuwa Juniour Secondary School, Mushin and Ajumoni Junior Secondary School, Iyana Isolo; all in Lagos State.
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