CAREER GUIDANCE: Developing a Reading culture for personal development – Prof. Wilson Muyinda Mande

CAREER GUIDANCE: Developing a Reading culture for personal development – Prof. Wilson Muyinda Mande
Prof.Wilson Muyinda Mande, Deputy Vice Chancellor Nkumba University.
Prof.Wilson Muyinda Mande, Deputy Vice Chancellor Nkumba University.

IN THIS PRESENTATION, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Nkumba university , Prof.Wilson Muyinda Mande talks about how one can develop a reading culture for personal development. He delivered the presentation during a library and information week at Nkumba university  in April 2015.

He says reading is the use of complex thoughtful processes to interpret printed symbols as meaningful units and understand them as a thought unit in order to understand the printed message.

Reading is an integrative process that begins with the reader including the affective, perceptual and cognitive aspects; so reading is not like just seeing letters or figures and end there, there must be some thoughtful process – what do they mean and how do they relate to our own situations.

Let me say there are several reasons why reading is important to you, why its important to me, or to a society, community or an entity like a university.

First of all we read to acquire knowledge and information, but as you know very well; human beings cannot be everywhere so the only way to get information and knowledge is to read.

He also says we read in order to transform knowledge to other people and also facilitate the wisdom of others.

Students need to read to get information, Knowledge and skills  (PHOTO:Katumba Badru)
Students need to read to get information, Knowledge and skills (PHOTO:Katumba Badru)

We read to solve or get solutions to existing problems, you can only get that answer to the problems by reading; some body may have gotten an answer to that problem and you can only get the answer by reading what was written.

He says that to maintain interactions with others, reading is key. We always say that all people who have value read and write; if you don’t read and write, then your value will be challenged. That is why some people write wills, so that even if one is gone he/she maintains an interaction with the rest of the people…if he/she did not write – then the people there can decide whatever they can.

We also read in order to improve ourselves, it’s important for you to read if you want to improve yourself. In this world, people expect you to know one thing sufficiently well, and the question is – What do you know sufficiently well? You can only know one thing sufficiently well by reading.

We also read in order to enjoy ourselves, in other words we read for enjoyment and pressure. Others say we read for relaxation, it could be a book on football or any other interesting topic that one loves.

But we are saying that the idea of a reading culture has not started today, it started long time ago and I would like to talk about 9 or 10 aspects on how reading has developed through the years.

He talks of the invention of logo graphs in the year 4000 BC: these were pictures but when one looked at the picture, he/she could tell the meaning and what they were trying to communicate..

The Alphabet were then later developed in 2000 BC, but without vowels; these were only consonants, …they later added some symbols in order to bring out the pronunciations.

In the year 1000 BC, the Greeks added the vowels after a thousand years, then the year 200 BC, they added punctuations…..there were no commas, full stops and so on. There were no upper and lower cases…..This came in 700 AD. And 200 years after that, they started separating words.

In 1500AD the Gutenberg Bible was assembled, you will ask me what was there before….there were only  manuscripts……

But what we are trying to say in all these; is how society has labored to perfect writing and reading. It has been a long journey up to now and that is what has helped nations to develop, excel, store information and acquire Knowledge.

Now there is a difference between literacy and reading culture; when we talk about literacy we mean that you have the capacity to recognize those letters we have talked about and you can read a word…. but it’s not the culture to read regularly, if you have a reading culture; it means that you have the capacity to read regularly.

There are students who know how to write but cannot read. What most of them do is tell others to write for them and they just copy,

Because we do not read, we are always poor in our discussions and make poor decisions because we lack information. Reading is important for your job , your community and its important for the generation; but why don’t we read?

I’m persuaded to believe why we don’t have the reading culture is because we are poor, even those who make it to school do not have sufficient funds to acquire the information to read.

Secondly, we have the problem of corruption, we tend to focus more on money instead of seriously focusing on reading……..because we can hire people to do work for us, do course work for us…..

The other is faith in verbal massages, but for those of you who have done communication skills know that when a massage moves from one person to another, it changes. Such will not be 100% correct and that is why we have rumors.

Of course we have the scarcity of reading materials, libraries are very few and those that are few have been vandalized or others do not have the reading materials – for that reason we do not read; resulting into a poor reading culture and the outcome is limited knowledge, limited skills, among the population.

With such limitations, Ugandans are not able to solve their own problems,….. we do not deal with things we would have solved ourselves. Thus we remain a developing nation year in year out.

Now developing a reading culture; we are going to say that for organized institutions like schools, universities and so on, it would be better for Uganda to put in place a reading policy or a policy on reading. This has worked elsewhere and people do read.

Institutions should also encourage their members to read. It is better for libraries to team up with publishers to develop reading materials.

Although there are electronic reading materials, we should have the hard copies too, a learner should first know how to write before he can read.

We need to organize training for teachers on reading and such programmes or trainings on reading should also be aired on media.

Individuals need to read for a purpose, we read to pass exam , we read for a job interview…., if you are not reading for such, you must have an area of interest. First of all, read for specific purposes and read for general knowledge.

Many say they are educated, but what does education mean?

So when we all read, we can acquire the skills and knowledge that is good for nation building.

You can listen to the full presentation on “Reading for Personal Development” by Prof.Wilson Muyinda Mande below:

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