One issue that may endanger the future prosperity of Ghana is the declining interest in reading among youths. Students are addicted to the internet and cellular phones which they believe are the best tools and excellent means of research and entertainment. Libraries throughout the nations’ institutions are poorly patronised. Unfortunately students describe most of the books as archaic. Indeed, we are living in an age where reading habit is fast becoming elusive. One will have expected that the advancement in technology should have enhanced reading among the youth, but they are rather misapplying it. With the exposure of students to video game, computers, television and now the internet, it is not surprising that reading is dying away. Although, the use of the internet by students for research and studies in schools is not a bad thing, its misapplication can greatly undermine national development.
The use of the internet as a main tool for reading to the neglect of books is an impediment to the mental development of students. The human resource of Ghana cannot be sustained in the future if students do not take reading seriously. One can attribute the poor academic performance of students both in the basic and tertiary schools to the apathetic culture towards reading. Thousands of students in many schools are struggling to make common expressions in the Queen’s language which is English. The future of the nation is highly dependent on how students take their reading seriously. Great leaders are those who devote themselves to reading. President John Mahama often said; “The youth are today’s leaders but not the future leaders” The youth in this regard should not think of becoming leaders one day, but should consider themselves as today’s leaders.
Great leaders are those who make great speeches, irrespective of their age identify problems in society and put forward ideas to solve them with ease. Reading is the weapon to the mental and social development of the individual. Much as it makes the mind active, the knowledge acquired from reading empowers the individual to deal with any given situation. Indeed, the more you read the more you know. We often hear people talk of Karl Max, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, Mensa Otabil, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar among others being called great speakers and leaders. These were people who were committed to reading. No one is born great! Great persons are those who think of becoming great and strive for it through reading.
Our media personnel are very fluent in their reportage, presentation, and expression. This is due to their commitment to reading. Students are therefore encouraged to strive hard to take the mantle of leadership from the old folks by emulating their reading culture. Active mind, vocabulary improvement, creativity, stress bust, confidence building and self-esteem are all dividends of reading. Ghana is an enterprise of which everyone is a shareholder. Instilling the reading discipline into the youth is therefore, a shared responsibility of every Ghanaian. It is an appeal to every stakeholder to rise up to deal with the canker of poor reading habit. It is good news to learn that the Ghana Education Service in collaboration with government is putting measures in place to rekindle the dying reading habit among the youth. We can help raise great leaders for Ghana if we pay serious attention to reading. Let us rise up and deal with the situation now!
BY: LAARI NAANBAAT. STUDENT OF UNIVERSITY FOR DEVELOPMENT (UDS), WA CAMPUS.