Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN) / GLP and RAN "Culture of Reading" Campaign

Current GLP Projects in Need of Support

Map of Nigeria The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Economy/Demographics/Geography

Africa's most populous nation with some 140,003,542 persons (2007) embraces 250 ethnic groups. These peoples have a rich cultural heritage spanning 2,000 years. The British ruled from the 1860s to 1960. After independence ethnic tensions increased, deepened by the rift between the poor (predominantly Muslim) north and the more prosperous (predominantly Christian and/or traditional faiths) south. Civil war raged from 1967 to 1970, when the Ibo fought unsuccessfully for autonomy as the Republic of Biafra. The establishment of separate states-30 by 1992-has helped accommodate diverse peoples. But in the mid-1980s overreliance on oil had brought Nigeria close to bankruptcy.

A military regime came to power, supposedly intent on liberalizing the economy and eliminating corruption. President Ibrahim Babangida promised a return to civilian rule, but the 1993 elections were annulled and he was forced to resign. Finally, after nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed under President Obasanjo who was reelected in April 2003. National Flag of Nigeria

General elections in April 2007 were considered significantly flawed by Nigerian and international observers but they marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country's history. President Umaru Musa YAR'ADUA took office on 29 May 2007 (CIA World Factbook).

 

girl with bookGLP & The Reading Association of Nigeria

The "Culture of Reading" Campaign

The Origins of a Book Scarcity Culture in Nigeria

empty boocase in NigeriaIn 1966, the Nigerian military took over the governance of the country. This eventually led to the collapse of the Nigerian economy. By late 1980s the Nigerian school system was in serious decline and by 1991, it was a mere shadow of what it used to be. The acute and endemic culture of scarcity of basic goods and services that came to characterize the the Nigerian economy reverberated extensively in the book industry. Indigenous publishing houses collapsed. Many foreign publishing houses in Nigeria folded up and left. Soon books became one of the most expensive commodities to own. School and community libraries collapsed becoming simply rooms with empty book shelves. Mobile libraries funded by state governments ceased to exist. Of course the idea of classroom libraries died with this collapse. They devaluing of the Nigerian currency was the last straw--it led to the total absence of books in Nigerian schools and colleges. It was also absolutely impossible to import books from outside Nigeria. Learning in Nigerian schools became sham and mimicry for there was no way formal education could be meaningful without books.

The Reading Association of Nigeria Books Without Borders Campaign

In 2001 the Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN) hosted the Second Pan African Reading for All conference in Abuja. Conferees who visited Nigerian primary schools in Abuja were stunned and shocked to see teachers and children striving to operate in schools without books. In order to make books available to the Nigerian schools one of the conferees, Fiona Lovatt from New Zealand, suggested the need to set up a "Books Without Borders" campaign website that would share information on the dearth of books in Nigerian schools and colleges with sympathetic individuals and groups from all over the world and would solicit for books for Nigerian school children.

Fiona Lovatt would eventually also send in a 40 foot container of books from New Zealand. This set of books targeted the general reading needs of primary and secondary school pupils and their teachers.

The Global Literacy Project-Reading Association of Nigeria Partnership

RAN President visits GLPThe Global Literacy Project was the first to respond to the campaign website. GLP not only got in touch with RAN but in 2002 also invited its president, Dr. C. E. Onukaogu to visit our base in New Brunswick, New Jesey (USA). Dr Onukaogu reported favorably about GLP to the RAN executive board. Subsequently, RAN and GLP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU has been an enabling instrument for the GLP/RAN venture to give Nigerian school children access to books.

In order to make good its promise, GLP has already sent in a 40 foot container of books to RAN. Some 80% of the books were delivered to the shipment's primary sponsor, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU) at Ikeji Arakeji in Osun state while the remainder (20%) were for RAN’s direct use for primary and secondary school libraries.Books received by JABU

  • The GLP book gift to JABU literally created the core of JABU’s University Library, providing the first set of books available to its two hundred and forty pioneer students. Without the GLP book gift, under the regulations of Nigeria's tertiary sector, the new university would have tragically been unable to open for its first students!
  • The other 20% of the GLP books was a comprehensive, integrated reading system especially selected to create a systematic reading program for selected primary and secondary school students in 20 Nigerian schools.

The book gifts from GLP and Fiona Lovatt's "Books without Borders" now form the core of the Reading Association of Nigeria's "Culture of Reading " campaign.

The Culture of Reading Campaign

students with donated reading booksIn order to ensure that the books got to a wide cross section of Nigerian children, RAN approached the Education Trust Fund (ETF) for logistical assistance. The ETF, a Federal government agency that is empowered to intervene and revive Nigeria’s ailing education, has over the years partnered with RAN in promoting literacy in Nigeria. ETF provided RAN with logistical support to distribute the books to selected schools and colleges in the country. Twenty eight schools spread all over the of the country were selected to benefit from the book gifts. Each school was supplied with a minimum of five hundred (500) titles. Although 500 titles in developed countries may seem like a drop of water in an ocean, in Nigeria where books have since 1986 almost become an extinct commodity in schools, supplying a school with 500 titles was unprecedented for most recipients.

As of the end of 2006 we are now entering the second phase of the Culture of Reading Campaign. So far, in this phase, twenty pilot schools have been set aside as model schools. The schools are from the six geopolitical zones of the students receiving books in Nigeriacountry and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Three schools have been earmarked in each geopolitical zone with two school in the FCT. RAN is now embarking on a school based, school cluster, and participatory capacity building program for teachers and pupils/students in the selected schools and colleges.

Each of the pilot schools is surrounded by a cluster of five schools participating in the capacity building program. All the teachers in the participating schools are involved in the project. The first core group of teachers drawn from the participating schools will retrain the other teachers in their schools with support from the project consultants. When RAN completes each cluster, they hope to create new clusters nearby. Classroom and school libraries are set up in the pilot schools. RAN reading and writing clubs are in place in each cluster.

Ongoing Challenges

Books stored in head teacher's officeCreating a culture of reading will not be easy. First, most schools have no classrooms that can be designated as the library. There is generally no safe room in each of them where books can be stocked. There are no reading and writing desks for use by pupils/students.

Donated books are often stacked in boxes in the head teachers’ office. As such, accessibility to the books is not easy to come by. Since the books are never displayed, many students never get to know about them.

Secondly, there is the need to employ trained librarians who can oversee the books provided. Our experience shows that many teachers who receive books from us and take custody of them do not know what to do with them. In some schools, the teachers were not even eager to receive the books because they do not see the need for them. They have never used books in their schools and do not see why they should be bothered with books.

Third, if book distributions are not sustained over time, our current efforts will fizzle out. As students read through the current five hundred titles we have supplied, they will need other titles to sustain their interests and to keep them reading. We therefore need books to flow into the pilot schools beyond the current ones we have supplied.

Fourth, there is the need to set up a functional newsletter where pupils and teachers can interact and share experiences. Apart from promoting inter and intra curriculum networking among the teachers and pupils in the participating schools, the newsletter will provide enormous hands-on-activities for both pupils and teachers.

(Nigeria Administrative Districts) GLP Projects-[GLP-RAN Initiative]
Map of Nigeria

Current Pilot Schools In the "Culture of Reading" Campaign

 

Name of school

Geopolitical Zone

State

1

Umuagu Central School

South East

Abia

2

Ohuhu Community School

South East

Abia

3

Ibeku High School

South East

Abia

4

St. Peters School Iba Ndue Otong Uyo LGA

South South

Akwa Ibom

5

Oba Akenz Primary School II Benin City Oredo

South South

Edo state

6

Lutheran School Obot Ndiya Nsit Ubuim LGA

South South

Akwa Ibom

7

Obafemi Awolowo University Staff School

South West

Osun

8

Ikeji Arakeji Community School

South West

Osun

9

Obafemi Awolowo  University International School

South West

Osun

10

Gadanaco Model School

F. C. T

Gwagwalada

11

Government Secondary School

F. C. T

Gwagwalada

12

Dantscho Primary School Maru

North West

Zamfara

13

Shinkaf Primary School, Talata Mafara LGEA

North West

Zamfara

14

Udeje Central Primary School Nasarawa LGEA

North West

Nasarawa

15

Demonstration Kagoro School

North Central

Kaduna

16

St. Theresa primary School Wuriakum Markurdi

North Central

Benue

17

L.E.A Primary School Sabon Gari Manju

North Central

Jos

18

Dala Government Secondary School Kano

North East

Kano

19

Government Day Secondary School-Yola

North East

Adamawa

20

GRA Girls Primary School, Ganje LGEA

North East

Adamawa