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Propping book industry to support Anambra’s leap in education

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IT will be better to look at what education is and does and point out sources of education and informal sources of socialisation, before we move on to the need for development of book industry to encourage our call for the younger generations to embrace reading culture.

“Nothing is more humiliating to a young man or woman in this modern time than the fact that he or she can neither read nor write his name. Education, and especially literary education, helps to strengthen character and free the mind from the abuses of inferiority complex. Illiterate persons are shy and unhappy in the company of literate ones. They tend to withdraw from the public and are generally unpredictable from their behaviours”. This was the view of R.C. Udokwu, Ph.D.Ed. in his book: Plan Your Future.

Moreover, he argued that “as a result of illiteracy, a greater part of our African Society is backward and is looked down upon by other more progressive literate societies of the world”. To him, “the ability to read and write ‘opens’ the eyes of a person and places him more in a position to take his place in the society of educated men and women. People who are illiterate tend to be less critical in their thinking, and are very often suspicious of other people. They suspect what other people do because they are not able to think for themselves”.

Udokwu also, caught the vision in his book by stating thus: “A really educated man does not cringe. He does not go hat in hand begging others for a lift in life. Very often, he creates his own opportunity and widens its horizons so much that the outside world is compelled to recognise him –sound education inspires an individual to action”.

Writing in his book, ‘Sociology-The Study of Human Relationships(3rd edition),  W. La Verne Thomas etal,  pointed out that “in every society, the new members–children and immigrants must be socialised. To him, in most tribal societies, almost all socialisation occurs within the family. Family members teach children the values, folkways and more of the society, as well as certain basic skills. The women teach the girls how to manage a household. The men instruct the boys on how to hunt and fish and provide necessities for a future family. In these societies, the socialisation process is informal”.

They informed also that “societies in which family cannot totally socialise, the young have set up formal systems of education to do so. Such systems, according to him, teach the children norms and skills necessary to become useful members of the society. These systems are official and often backed by legal sanctions.

Other sources of socialisation are the groups to which individuals belong. These include the neighbourhood play groups, religious groups and sports teams. Like the family, such groups teach the child important values and norms.

Among, sources of socialisation for children are the mass media, including television, radio, movies, books, newspapers and magasines. Also, contact with the governmental processes helps socialise individuals- W.La Verne Thomas, revealed.

In the Philosophy and Dimensions of National Communication Policy (vol 2), edited by Dr Tony Nnaemeka etal, Dr Funso Olayitan, writing on Normative Training Model or Public Communication, informed that “the achievement of a people, whatever their purposes or tasks, depends not only upon their innate qualities, but also upon the character and extent of their education and training”.

Furthermore, W.A. La Verne Thomas revealed that “every institution must have at least one function. If not, it would have no reason to exist. The primary or intended function of education, to him, is the “socialisation of new members of a society”. In a complex society, there are many aspects of the socialisation process and among the most important are teaching basic skills, such as reading, writing and arithmetic, helping children develop skills in abstract thinking and problem solving.

Others include transmitting the cultural heritage from which individuals may develop an appreciation of their society, communicating to children the basic values of the society, teaching the special aspects of culture, such as art, music literature, drama, science, technology and sports.

Others are teaching vocational skills that help individuals enter the job market, training citizens for life within the political system of their society and preparing children to live among and form meaningful relationships with other human beings”.

Writing on ‘Guidelines for Development of Book Industry’ in the book: Philosophy and Dimensions of National Communication Policy (vol 2), Akin Thomas, informed that “the main modern media of communication available to us in Nigeria today included newspapers, radio and television, and of course, books”. That was before the new information age.

In this connection, he pointed out that “I do not stress the importance of the written work, the importance of book, in our efforts at building an educated citizenry in the areas of culture, history, the natural and applied sciences, and numerous other fields of human and national growth and development. Also, it is advised to plan development of book industry publishing industry in Nigeria”.

Present government of Anambra State, under the watch of Chief Willie Obiano, has done tremendously well in the fight to reduce illiteracy in the society through  robust and intelligent polices that have driven schools presently to the successes they recorded in various examination bodies within, inside and outside the state.

In this connection, the second tenure pro-active match like mangers should endeavour to recognise that book industry is a vital industry. It will help a lot to inculcate and encourage the much talked about reading culture in our children-our future generations.

It will be of interest to note that, first congress on books was held from 21st February to 5th March,     1983, at the Trade Fair Complex on Badary Road in Lagos. The congress took a year of planning and the implementation committee spent close to a year getting to the stage of producing a published report. That 222-page book is the first of such full examination of all aspects of the problems of “the book in Nigeria. The publication informed that six target committees examined formulation of national book strategy, recognition that the book industry is a vital industry ,integration of the new technologies into the book chain, creation of a reading environment in all types and at all levels of society. Others include stimulation of national book capacities to build international co-operation and increases in the two-way flow of books across borders.

The publication noted that the congress was conscious of the fact that “books are the most effective tools for education and education itself, the most effective tool for change and progress in society”.

In addition, the congress was convinced that “books are not only pre-eminent as vehicles for research and information, but also, are sources for the propagation of culture and recreation and a national and international commodity that could be consciously exploited for the preservation and projection of social norms and values, and international co-operation and understanding”.

Throwing more light on the need for a book industry in any economy, in his presentation in the publication, Akin Thomas, insightfully noted that “there were important contributions which a fully developed book industry can make to the overall educational, economic, social, political and technological advancement of the nation can call for greater effort aimed at achieving a virile book industry. In this connection, according to him, “the mere recognition of the book industry as a vital industry will be meaningless without a corporate body to implement all approved actions”.

To this end, the congress identified other problems which, the industry has had to contend with and what it believed need be tackled at national level for a proper and an overall effectiveness. It cannot be gain said that a nation’s thinkers, writers and artists are best suited to produce books that reflect its national values, enrich its culture and fit into its educational system”.

While we continue to plead with the government of the day, under the watch of our able governor, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike global) to set up machinery in motion to encourage development of book industry in our state-the Light of the Nation, let me conclude this write up by highlighting the advice of Akin Thomas that “the fact underpins the need to have most of our printing done in Nigeria by Nigerians. Many sections of the third world have remained largely consumers of foreign books which portray other people’s ideas and culture whereas books should be used consciously by any society, any government, not only to spread news and ideas, but to aggregate and project internationally the best in every nation’s culture”.

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