Sustained advocacy will promote reading culture among students



A former Minister of State for Education, Prof. Jerry Agada, said on Friday in Abuja that sustained advocacy would promote reading and writing culture among students.

Agada said this on Friday in Abuja at a meeting of education stakeholders and the launch of Teen Trust Newspaper.

The event, which was organised by Media Trust Limited in collaboration with School Hunters, an integrated education marketing communication agency, is focused on promoting creative development in schools.

“The way forward is to continue with the advocacy. We should not be tired we cannot say you have taken that step therefore everything is finished. It is continuous.

“Continue to advocate that people should read, because if you go and sit down thinking you have done enough so there is no need continuing, people will go back to sleep.

“So continuous reminder of the essence of reading is what is necessary and as long as we are doing that I think we will one day agree that we have become a reading nation.

“During these club meetings, people tell stories, write things and by the time the products of their works start coming out other children will love them.

“When I was in the secondary school, my happiest day was the day my article was published in the school magazine and that generated the interest in me to continue to be a writer.

“So as a member of the school debating society or literary society or literary club, these are the activities that you do and as you do them, the interest in you continues to increase and it improves on reading and writing.’’

Speaking at the event, Dr Ada Okoronkwo, the Executive Director, Capacity Building, School Hunters, called for the revival of the use of the library in schools to encourage students to imbibe reading and creative writing skill.

Okoronkwo said that could be achieved by introducing e-libraries.

She urged parents to show more interest in the activities of their children and called on school authorities to create more forums that will promote parent-teacher interaction.

Mr Aliu Akroshile, Associate Director (Business), Media Trust Limited, said Teen Trust would help improve the reading and writing culture especially among youths in the country.

Akroshile said that the company was discussing with the government to work out how the newspaper would reach schools in rural areas at no cost.

“Teen Trust is an innovation that the newspaper company has come up with as one of the solutions to the nagging problems in the education sector of this country.

“There has been a lot of outcry that the reading culture has gone drastically low and we felt that one way to get children to develop their writing and reading ability is to bring out a children-friendly newspaper that will look at areas such as career development, sport, and what you call edutainment, that is, mixing education with entertainment.

“The bottom-line there is that it becomes also a platform for competition. They will also be involved in generating news stories as a form of developing the writing skill.

“So this is ultimately our goal – to contribute to educational advancement of children in Nigeria.

“For public schools, especially the rural schools, we are talking to government. We are liaising with the state governments on the possibility of giving the papers to the schools in the various communities.

“That we can do without necessarily imposing any financial burden on the parents.’’

The Chief Executive Officer of School Hunters, Mrs Shoal Okpodu, said that the teen newspaper was an avenue for students to lend their voices.

“The news paper is very unique at this point in time when we are all clamouring for change. It is an avenue for students to lend their voices as well.

“So it is a student newspaper, it is a paper written by students for students; so, we are trying to breed the next generation of fantastic creative writers and as well as journalists.

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