Adopting a Reading Culture

MANY youths living in Namibia’s rural settlements find it hard to access reading materials and are often faced with hindrances when trying to establish a reading culture among themselves.

This was said by Jacob Muleka, the head of the Oshana regional library, in a telephonic interview with The Namibian.

“Many of the youths who make use of our facilities are still slowly adapting to a reading culture because many of them just read for exams or for school-related stuff. Many of them are faced with a need for reading on other occasions though, in order to release pressure and get enjoyment,” said Muleka.

He added that although the youths are turning up in big numbers to the centre, many of them just come to explore social media.

Muleka said since the opening of the centre, about 7 000 people have used the facility.

The centre also offers user-friendly education programmes, whereby people are taught the importance of reading and writing.

A group of pupils from Oshakati West Primary School told The Namibian that they enjoy coming to the Oshana library to do their homework and socialise with pupils from other schools.

A Grade 12 pupil from Mwadikange Kaulinge Secondary School in Ohangwena region, who opted to remain anonymous, said the Ohangwena regional library is beneficial to the rural communities and will keep the youth from abusing drugs and alcohol.

“Our end of year examinations are approaching. I am one of the people who will be making use of the library on a daily basis. I enjoy studying at the library because they have all the resources I need,” the pupil said.

In order to address the inequalities in access to knowledge and learning resources, the Millennium Challenge Account – Namibia (MCA-N) has built three regional resource centres in Ohangwena, Oshana and Omaheke.

Each centre has received equipment valued at N$5 million and will offer educational facilities to the public. The centres are solar-powered.

Individually, the centres can accommodate 35 000 books, a computer room with free internet and audio visuals, as well as conference facilities, a study space and a hall for approximately 125 people.

The Oshana and Ohangwena regional resource centres were both inaugurated by President Hifikepunye Pohamba last week.

Pohamba commended the good work the MCA-N has done in Namibia, saying that the centre will help lessen the pressure of libraries at many institutions.

“I am told that this centre is going to provide a wide range of education services to learners and it is also vital to promote a culture of reading and research,” said Pohamba.

He urged people Oshana region to use the facility full-time and safeguard the books.

The Charge d’affaires at the American embassy, John Kowalski, said the need to build such facilities was evident.

“Now, thousands more can access information previously denied to them,” said Kowalski.

He further explained that the centres in question are critical components of education, research, public administration and economic development.

Source : The Namibian