By Edwin Muhumuza
In a bid to curb the poor reading culture plaguing the youth in Uganda, United Bank for Africa(UBA) has embarked on a project dubbed read ‘Read Africa’ to equip students with literature.
The UBA FortPortal team led by the Head of Retail Banking, Paul Luyima donated 100 books to students of Portal Secondary School, in Kabarole district. The title of the book donated was the famous ‘Things Fall Apart’, written by Chinua Achebe.
While addressing the students, Mr. Luyima advised, ‘The more we read, the more we acquire new knowledge, the quicker we get at solving complex problems, the better we understand each other, the more confident we get because we will be able to firmly engage in dialogue. You should never tire of reading, it only makes you a better person.’
The Read Africa project was initiated in 2011 by UBA Foundation, the arm of the bank charged with Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR). Read Africa has been rolled out across Africa with the goal of rekindling the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths.
UBA plans to donate books to schools across Uganda in all towns of operation. This week, Read Africa will be live in Mbale.
Relatedly, Uganda suffers from a low and poor reading culture. Former executive director of the National Council for Higher Education, Prof Abdul Kasozi says this trend where people do not value or do not do any reading except to look for a few necessary items, is harmful to the development of the individual and nation,warning that a poor reading culture,limits innovative and entrepreneurial minds from accessing cutting age information which they need to realize their ambitions and the low level of reading that many Ugandan suffer from is an indicator of the quality of education our nation has, and is giving us.
Also listening to discussions by a number of Ugandans on Radio and TV talk shows, seminars and conferences, one is embarrassed on how the majority of those participating are uninformed on basic scientific and social issues.
Among the solutions include; increasing enrollment in our education institutions ,need to stop the over-emphasis on centralized examinations by our education system and that a secondary school student should read at least one novel whose content is outside what is taught in class each week. An undergraduate student should read at least three hundred pages of materials that are outside his or her curriculum for general knowledge each week, partly what UBA has embarked on.