- Post 22 September 2008
- Last Updated on 23 September 2008
- By Hilary Ike Ugwu
Survival instinct is an intricate part of any organic being. Wherever this instinct is lacking, the threats to organic annihilation becomes imminent. As a living organism, every social system has an intrinsic responsibility to upholding its continued existence viz culture, politics, religion, economy etcetera. A society dies the moment the will to survive is missing. It is worthy of note that survival is not only in terms of biological life-force. A society as a living entity has its own life which ought to be fed in order to survive. It is noteworthy that in the new world order, education plays a significant role in the continued survival of the organic structure of any society.
The function of formal education in the development of Africa cannot be overemphasized. It is a known fact that Nigeria produces a high level of formally educated minds in the continent of Africa. For instance out of all the immigrant ethnic groups in the United States, Nigerian has a high concentration of formally educated minds. Despite all these statistics, Nigeria as a nation still has a long way to go in national transformation. The fruits of the years of formal education seem to find little relevant in the reconstruction of the nation. With a humongous level of university graduates each year, Nigeria is still to take its rightful position as the leader of Africa.
Nigerians are intelligent and also industrious. But the Nigerian ingenuity of entrepreneurship and massive development remain incomplete until Nigerians embrace a thorough reading culture. There is no doubt that Nigeria as a nation is behind in imbibing a reading culture with which no nation in the 21st century could make a profound headway to socio-economic, political and techno-scientific advancement. The attitude surrounding the Nigerian formal education revolves around paper qualification. This is a very myopic way of looking as the entirety of what education stands for.
With this limited notion of education, lots of people are less interested in the mental, spiritual and physical development of a person which education offers in school curriculums than they are in the kind of grade they amass after graduation from schools. The sole reason for education is to develop the mind; not to obtain papers. When the mind is well developed the society stand the chance of being developed too. With a frenzy rush and unmitigated interest on paper qualification, lots of people are abandoning the refinement which education offers to the human person and to the human society.
People are discarding the culture of reading. With handouts in the hands of students during their school days, it automatically means that reading via intellectual stimulation and rapid research dwindles to a zero point. How can one who spent years in the university reading handouts from professors have the required discipline to involve in strenuous research especially after graduation?
Lots of people abandon reading and research once out of school programs. By so doing lots of Nigerian graduates including professors remain academically wedged in the evolving world of new idea. When the will and the enthusiasm to go further die, life as a comprehensive whole begins to die too. To maintain a high profile society of professionalism, Nigeria needs to also maintain a high profile of intellectualization via the reading culture.
Reading for the enlightened mind goes beyond the school program. It is a way of life. To stop reading is to stop updating. And to stop updating in an ever changing world is to start decaying. This laxity of reading culture reflects the way Nigerian writers and academicians are being treated. Most of the times, some of the greatest intellectuals Nigeria ever produced are more respected and valued in other countries than they are within the enclave of Nigeria. This is pathetic and damaging to the integrity of any nation.
Parents should learn to expose their children to reading. In so doing they are shaping their little mind towards greatness. Professors and teachers should expose their students to disciplined culture of reading and research. The profit of such action is enormous not only for the individuals involve but for the entire nation. As expensive and spendthrift as Nigerians could be, it is not a surprise that lots of wealthy and highly educated people across the country do not have libraries in their homes. A home could harbor every gorgeous and expensive thing except books.
If Nigeria therefore as a nation wants a prosperous future of massive techno-scientific and industrial revolution, socio-political and economic renovation, she needs embrace a reading culture like the rest of the emerging world.