From Chuks Collins, Awka
A non-governmental organization, under the aegis of Zachaeus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial libraries (ZODML), has unveiled plans to establish libraries in One thousand, two hundred and ninety-nine(1,299) public primary/secondary schools in Anambra State.
Mrs Ego Mbagwu who is the Chief Executive Officer of the foundation disclosed this when it presented five Oasis libraries and two “Drop Everything And Read” (DEAR) Time projects to St. Mary’s High school, and Nneamaka Secondary school, at Ifitedunu, in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.
She said the organization had earlier established four libraries in prisons in the state; all prisons in Lagos State, and two in Enugu State.
According to Mrs Mbagwu, the foundation’s emphasis on library was informed by the growing need for the acquisition of knowledge, particularly among youths in the country.
She said that the foundation was moved in an effort to assist public primary and secondary schools students who might not be able to afford the required relevant books due to financial constraints.
She described education as the bedrock of development in any society, hence the important role of libraries in students’ academic achievement and lifelong learning process and self-education.
“It facilitates the work of classroom teachers and ensures each student has equal access to resources irrespective of home opportunities or constraints,” she added.
She believed that with the libraries in these schools, students would constantly be encouraged on self-education, better academic performance and produce life-long readers with an insatiable quest for knowledge.
The state’s Director of library, Post Primary School Service Commission (PPSSC), Mrs Chinyelu Motu, commended the foundation for the initiative, appealing for its extension to other schools in the state, and charged the benefitting schools’ authorities to ensure maximum use of the books to improve students’ performances for the betterment of the society.
One of the benefitting school’s Principal, Rev. Fr. Jude Onebunne, while commending the organization for the gesture lamented the declining reading culture, particularly among the youths, which he said was worsened by the emergence and spread of the internet uses and services.
He however assured of the continuous efforts of the school authorities in addressing the problem.
He said, “One of Nigeria’s major problems is reading. Like it’s said, if you want to hide anything from an African man, write it down. Internet did not help matters. They think it’s everything you can Google.
“Since we introduced a course that encourages each student to finish two novels per term, the difference has been glaring.
“I believe that bringing the library closer to the students would not only enhance their reading culture, but further improve their academic performances.”