EJLLS Publication

Title: Sustaining Life-long Reading for Positive Change in Nigeria: Critical Perspectives on Ebonyi State
Author(s): Macpherson Chikaodiri OKPARA
Abstract: The indispensable role of reading in social change and national development has, in recent years, dominated discourses by scholars and players in the education and book industries in Nigeria. However, there is little evidence of positive results from those discourses. Disquieting pointers to poor reading culture in the nation include examination malpractice, poor academic performance, high school dropout rate, high unemployment, drug addiction, substance abuse, cultism, thuggery, insecurity, poor leadership, corrupt practices, violence, insurgency, militancy, religious fundamentalism/extremism, child abuse, poverty, diseases, among several other symptoms. This paper identifies and discusses ways of sustaining life-long reading culture for positive change in Nigeria, beaming its critical lens on Ebonyi State. It focuses on promoting increase in reading materials and providing information on places to get those materials, identifying impediments to reading, and suggesting ways of eliminating the obstacles. While this study aligns with the functionalist theory of literacy, its methodology involves reading, analysis and interpretation of secondary sources, blending the findings with this author’s observations and experiential references (for he is a key player in both the education and the book industries). The findings include that breakthroughs in science and technology, as in the humanities; contributions to social, political, economic and intellectual discourses and actions; and the functional physical and social structures in developed societies are largely a result of their voracious reading public. The paper concludes that key players in the education and book industries must sustain efforts at encouraging the cultivation of appreciable reading culture among the populace for the attainment of positive change in their behaviour, to guarantee the nation’s match towards sustainable development.
Keywords: Readership promotion, functional literacy, social change, national development, Nigeria, Ebony