Throughout many previous blogposts I posted, I try to bring attention to the importance of reading especially among our children. I often say that it is a shame and unacceptable for our country to experience a rise in illiteracy rates, especially when we have access to a myriad of reading resources more than we ever had before.
Recently, I read a very disturbing report about the vanishing reading culture in Tanzania. Essentially, this is turning this country into a nation of illiterates. There is a growing concern that because the reading habits among children and adults are declining, this is creating civilization illiterates. There seems to be a lack of interest in reading books among children and adults. It is reported that many students waste an excessive amount of time on trivial things like exchanging mobile text messages instead of investing in reading. In the 1970’s Tanzania was known as one of the countries with the highest literacy rates in the world. Unfortunately, that rate of 96% has been falling and currently stands at 72%. Evidence of a nation of people who either fear books or hate reading rests in the hands and teaching of parents or guardians. This country is finding that they do not have the appropriate skills to run a successful business, because leadership among illiterates instills that fear in others.
This trend is not only occurring in Tanzania, but in many areas around the world. Illiteracy is a major threat to our economy and national security. Illiteracy stifles, destroys and oppresses. We do not want our nation to suffer a catastrophic drop in literacy rates as Tanzania. Let us continue to encourage reading and learning for children as well as adults. We cannot allow the inability to read keep us imprisoned in a dark hole of despair and bondage.