As the first public library – the Kigali Public Library, nears completion, the promotion of a reading culture will have to be intensified if the public is to make good use of the facilities it offers.
The benefits of reading cannot be underestimated. The most practical step to start inculcating this culture is in schools. Teachers must have, within their mandate, the responsibility to help their students develop a positive attitude towards reading. Once students start enjoying reading, they will also develop interest in their curricula.
The Ministry of Education, should initiate effective reading programmes in schools. This will not only encourage the children to read, but will develop their ability to grasp the meaning of what they read and be able to analyse the sequence of ideas and come to logical conclusions.
A culture of reading will foster analytical thinking, creativity and innovation, and positive learning habits. Reading exposes people to new ideas and cultures, history, and societies which face similar challenges to their own and this makes them more informed citizens.
For a country whose economy is increasingly becoming competitive, the demand for a highly literate workforce is a definite pre-requisite. Reading is knowledge, and knowledge is where the development of civilization and nation lies.
As students spend much of their time with their parents, their role in bringing about the desired change cannot be ignored. Developing the reading habit involves the participation of children, parents, educators and the community as a whole.