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Background of the Study
Reading serves as a tool for the access and enhancement of intellectual properties of people from generation to generation so as to ensure continuous human and societal transformations and developments. Reading is an act or process of decoding written, textual or graphic information in order to make meaningful interpretations from an information material. According to Sisulu (2004) reading is one of the fundamental building blocks of learning and becoming a skilled and adaptable reader enhances the chances of success in academics and beyond. Reading is not only meant for success in examinations, it has the potential to enhance individual political participation in a democratic and structured society. Similarly, Osundare (2009) emphatically remarks that a country‟s level of development is a function of its level of mental and cultural evolution as well as the state of its educational advancement; reading is essential for this achievement.
However, for this study, reading is seen as the process of critically studying and mentally digesting the content of information material for immediate or future use. The importance of reading is a prerequisite for the appreciation of reading culture as vital tool for the enhancement of human intellectual abilities. More so, the act of reading serves as agent of human transformations by changing and enhancing the destiny of people for better or worse through their access to the intellectual properties of others that were written down. The flow of ideas cannot be stopped hence, one need to read and research to build on good ideas and expose the destructive ones.
The nation as a political entity is not exempted from enjoying the benefit that emanate from reading populace. Reading enhances the application of recorded knowledge into use where the citizens can readily be mobilized for attainment of political, educational, social and economic goals of the nation (Mefor, 2011). Reading is of immense value for the success of every society as it imparts knowledge; hence, the ability to read should be highly valued because it is a precondition for social and economic advancement.
Reading empowers students to improve on their bulk of vocabulary hence there is positive improvement on the written and spoken language of students that reads voraciously because every unknown word or term is looked up in a dictionary (Divya, 2007). The Contemporary Nigerian students depend on reading literature to improve on their command of English language and the habit of reading good literature helps them to decipher new words and phrases which may be encountered in everyday conversation.
Furthermore, there is positive Improvement on the general academic performance of a student that makes out time to read interdisciplinary information materials. This is why reading professional information resources as daily routine and sticking to it improves one on his chosen career. The ability of a student to achieve the general objectives or purposes of formal education which is anchored on self development in order to achieve national development is highly interwoven with meaningful reading.
More so, academic success and self empowerment among students is highly realizable through the act of intensive reading. Reading enhances educational goals and consequently, good readers become orators and are fluent in their use of language in secular and academic discussion. Also, the ability of a student to apply skill in order to attain personal goal during examinations, public forum and write-ups is embedded in reading.
Emphatically, it may be difficult for a society to attain meaningful development and growth if they do not make reading a part of their lives and culture because cultivating reading culture is an important developmental strategy to individuals and nations. Reading culture is a tradition of people who place high premium on reading such that they become active, engaged and avid readers (UNESCO, 2009).Consequently, students must have reading as their tradition and value system before they can be adjudged to have reading culture. Reading culture underscores the need to build in student‟s enjoyment of their reading out of the classroom in ways that can enhance their pleasure and help develop their critical eye so that they become enthusiastic and successful readers. Therefore, when students habitually and regularly read books and other information materials that are not necessarily required for them to advance in their profession or field of study, such students are said to have good reading culture.
Furthermore, reading culture entails inculcating reading and studying as part of societal value system and as basis for growth and development. It is the type that sees continuous and dedicated reading of information resources by pupils, children, students and adults for knowledge acquisitions, which will be practically applied for personal and national development. Reading culture is acquired as result of quality formal and non- formal instruction in a number of languages, phonological awareness, vocabulary, text comprehension and active engagement with text. Meanwhile, in the context of this study, reading culture implies the acts of consciously and consistently making reading a part of one‟s life activity with the sole aim of being well grounded in general knowledge. However, reading habit is an uncontrollable passion for everyday reading until one get accustomed to it as a pattern of living and value system; hence Reading habit leads to reading culture therefore they are not used interchangeably in this study.
The issue of declining reading culture in Nigeria and among undergraduate students in particular has continued to pose a major challenge not only to the Government but also to parents, teachers and the society at large. The consequences, as observed have permeated the entire strata of the country therefore, making the quality of graduates from the nation‟s schools to fall below standard. This implies surprisingly that even Nigerian undergraduate students are also the victims of poor reading culture. According to Onifade (2012) there has been a growing concern that reading culture among Nigerians especially students has waned significantly, and that many students never borrow or read a book from their library throughout their stay in School. University library Users‟ statistics present overwhelming evidence that the number of students who use the library increases or reduces with examination periods.
The Poor state of reading culture among undergraduate students will have adverse effect on the educational sector; therefore the situation deserves attention and improvement in order to enhance students‟ contribution to development in the society. Unfortunately, Observation has shown that some students that has poor reading culture may find it more challenging to complete class assignments such as term paper, test, and other research works. More so, the poor performance of students in examinations may be attributed to poor reading culture because some students begin active reading few days or hours before the examination day. It is therefore, certainly no exaggeration to posit that reading culture among Nigerian students has further being overhauled since the exponential growth and modern advances in information and communication technologies.
Different students may have divergent views and personal perceptions of the contributions of ICTs towards their reading culture. However, Students‟ perceptions and usage of ICTs may be similar depending on the university environment, field of study and social factors that are inherent within their society. Perception is the sorting out, interpretation, analysis, and integration of stimuli carried out by the sense organs and brain (Feldman 2005). The precept (impression) that ICTs makes on the senses of university undergraduate students forms their perceptual experiences of ICTs towards their reading culture. Perceptual changes are limitless and can also be developed; therefore, an undergraduate student that does not have good perception about ICTs because of environmental influences or otherwise can change the perception with better orientation. Consequently, for this study, perception refers to Edo state university undergraduate students‟ beliefs, attitudes, opinions and feelings towards the contributions of ICTs to their reading culture.
Information and communication technologies as tools that have the potential to facilitate easy access to knowledge have been a welcomed development among academics and students. According to Ayodele (2001) information and communication technologies is an electronic based technology that are used to store, process, and package information as well as provides access to knowledge. More also ICTs comprises of pieces of equipment, and networked infrastructure that are used for creating, manipulating, transferring and using information and knowledge (Aina, 2008).
Furthermore, in the past few years, information and communication technologies has provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities, for instance, individuals can communicate real time with others in different locations using technologies such as instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing. Social networking websites like face book give users the opportunity of interacting with people around the world. Information explosion which have been associated with the emergence of sophisticated categories of ICTs devices that are manufactured with internet and Televisions facilities; have provided students with unrestricted access to knowledge and information beyond their imaginations.
Therefore, these categories of ICTs that use audio and video technologies to disseminate information and enhance access to recorded knowledge have been particularly indentified as vital tool among students for the promotion of reading culture. ICTs generally are believed to foster cooperative learning, provide better information through electronic stimulations and also make complex reading experiences easier. The use of colour pictures or symbols and graphics to illustrate information on a screen has the potential to enhance the understanding of concept and illustrations among university undergraduate students.
Therefore, the use of ICTs for reading may not be avoided by undergraduate students because technology holds a promise of improved access to information, better illustration of concept, increased interactivity and communication between students and their lecturers. In contemporary times, the internet also called the information superhighway has brought reading materials to the doorsteps of university students, coming with the evolution that cannot be compared with existing technologies that were before it. More also, internet has boosted the bulk of knowledge available to students; and has also provided a mechanism for easy access to knowledge and it collaborative interaction between students and students and students and their lecturers.
Furthermore, reports have indicated that students are reading more books because of e-text; whether the digital software is on a handheld laptop or desktop computer, thousands of book titles have been transformed into digital books that can be read after being downloaded to the computer device (Houghton, 2010). The use of ICTs for reading, among students have broadened their horizon of academic opportunities and researches, enabling them to carry out their research, class assignments, write their examinations and share information resources with their counterpart all over the world. Fortunately, observation has shown that the use of modern day cable television has the potential to harness reading culture among students. It can provide university undergraduate students with television channels where discussion on educating literatures or book review can trigger curiosity for further reading of such book or books.
Furthermore, Studies have shown that general news headline and the summary of news and events can contribute positively to reading culture by triggering the interest of students to purchase the newspaper for full details of the content of such information material. Furthermore, university undergraduate students in the course of their academic works may find it easier to locate, evaluate and collect information from variety of sources through the use of ICTs. ICTs is defined for the purpose of this study as diverse sets of modern electronic and technological tools and devices used to create, collate, store, exchange, manage and provide access to recorded information and knowledge.
However, university undergraduate students experience challenges and difficulties in their daily use of ICTs either for academic purpose or otherwise. Some Students tend to be faced with serious distraction because of their inability to resist the appealing captions and pictures encountered on the screen while using ICTs. Social networks such as face book, chats, twitter, YouTube etc seems to have far reaching implication for students reading culture because the pressure to watch movies and interacts with people and loved ones via ICTs seems to be overwhelming. The contemporary Nigerian university undergraduate students may not be possibly kept away from the use of ICTs because of the vast range of opportunities it offers to it users, therefore, effort is being made to proffer solutions to the problems encountered by students with use of ICTs in promoting reading culture.
University undergraduate students are a class of students in the university who are studying or running an academic program in order to get a first degree in a discipline or field of study. This category of university students because of their seemingly undisciplined character and lack of focus in academics and beyond appear to be distracted in their reading culture and use of ICTs. Moreover, they seem not to be focused probably because they have not yet come to terms with the power in the use of screen to disseminate information to some sets of target audience. Observation have shown that some undergraduate students because of their age bracket (17-20 yrs) and their characteristics seem to be distracted in their use of ICTs to access information.
University undergraduate students also seem to be inclined to the incessant use of social networks and social television channels such as face book, you tube, twitter; music channels and movie channels respectively to interact with friends, love ones, listen to music and download movies and etc. meanwhile, the nature of university undergraduate studies which involves the study of various courses within the range of 3-5 years makes it inevitable for them to broaden their horizon of knowledge through reading beyond their courses of study. Therefore, they seem to be hooked to the use of ICTs to access knowledge which is just a click away; in order to meet up with the time limit that is made available for them to study various courses within and outside their discipline per semester.
The university of Benin in Edo state which is referred to as the last of the first generation universities was founded on 23rd November 1970 by the then Midwestern state Government initially as the Midwest institute of Technology. Full university status was attained by the institute in July 1971 when it was recognized by the National University Commission and it became the University of Benin.
Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, often called a new generation University was established by professor Alli, the first Governor of the then Bendel State. It was officially opened and called Bendel state University, Ekpoma on 29th March, 1982. However, following the creation of Edo state in 1992, the University had it name changed to Edo state University. Subsequently, the then Governor of Edo state, Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion signed the act that established the University in 1999 and renamed the University to Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo state after the founder‟s name, professor Ambrose Alli.
The reading culture of students may have been overhauled as a result of use, misuse, and abuse of information and communication technologies for accessing information and knowledge; students‟ benefits, illusion and quagmire on ICTs in relation to one of the basic foundation for sustained education and knowledge is now left to be discovered.
Statement of the Problem
Reading among university undergraduate students is the basic foundation of literacy and also assists in the promotion of comprehension and critical thinking skills. Consequently, the development of good reading culture among university undergraduate students empowers human resources; enhance the acquisition of general knowledge and broadmindedness; in order to champion the much expected sustainable developments in the education and other sectors of the economy.
Furthermore, the use of information and communication technologies for reading purposes among university undergraduate students enhance learning, foster and increase academic productivity and opportunities, and promote creativity. However, when it becomes a substitute for good reading among students, it should give course for concern. In the 21st century, it has been observed that university students spend time in some form of ICTs or the other such as Internet, laptops Computers, cable television, palmtops, iPods, GSM Phones, smart phones, smart television and etc; the interest in reading is challenged and seemed to have waned significantly.
Consequently, ICTs seems to have progressively taking a steady control over the reading culture of undergraduate students in Nigeria universities. Our reading culture seem to be further impoverished; the effects of poor reading culture is experienced where the quality of graduate fall bellow standard, the rate of examination malpractice is very high, intelligent quotient is low and etc, the country keep battling with education and economic underdevelopment.
However, if reading culture is not brought back among university undergraduate students, the quality and standard of our graduate and education may go down the drain and the country can plunge back into the state of underdevelopment.
Furthermore, other researchers have carried out empirical studies on the effect of information and communication technologies on reading culture. Edem and Ofre (2010) in Calabar, Ureigho (2006) in African universities, Omotayo (2006) in Delta state all carried out empirical studies on reading culture and internet use activities of students in tertiary institutions. Some of the studies were on effects of internet use on reading culture of students; none has been on other forms ICTs such as television. There have been no discovered studies on the contributions of ICTs towards reading culture among University undergraduate students in Edo state. Therefore, this study is set out to investigate students‟ perceptions of the contributions of ICTs towards reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to ascertain students‟ perceptions of the contributions of ICTs towards the reading culture of university undergraduate students in Edo state. The specific objectives of this study are outlined below:
- To ascertain the categories of ICTs that promotes reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state;
- To find out the ways ICTs enhance reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state;
- To ascertain the influence of ICTs utilization on the reading culture of university undergraduate students in Edo state;
- To identify the problems associated with the use of ICTs in promoting reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state;
- To proffer strategies for enhancing the use of ICTs in promoting reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state.
The following research questions will be used in the course of this research in order to proffer solutions to the problems of this study:
- What categories of ICTs are used to promote reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state?
- How does ICTs utilization enhance reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state?
- What ways does ICTs utilization influence reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state?
- What are the problems associated with the use of ICTs in promoting reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state?
- What strategies should be used to enhance the use of ICTs in promoting reading culture among university undergraduate students in Edo state?
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be helpful to the following: Students, university authorities, Library organizations, Nigerian Government and stakeholders in reading chain, ICTs companies and broadcasting firms, Parents and other researchers.
The result of this study will be of utmost importance to students by helping them to discover the contributions of ICTs on their reading habit and culture; its effects on their intellectual enhancement, national developments and also provide them with strategies on how to use ICTs to improve their reading culture.
Also, the findings of this study will be of utmost benefit to university authorities by giving them insight on how to improve the reading culture of students through the provision of the necessary ICTs devices and infrastructures that will help to enhance the reading culture of university students.
It is hoped that the findings of this study will be useful to library organizations by providing them with information on why there is low students patronage of the libraries; provide strategies on how to take charge of the national literacy level through encouraging students to use the information resources in the library on daily basis. The findings of this work will also empower libraries to be informed on the nature of ICTs materials to provide in the library in order to boost the reading culture of their students.
Furthermore, the findings of this study is expected to be of utmost benefit to the Nigeria government and stakeholders in reading chain such as publishers, writers, booksellers, teachers at all levels etc by getting them to be properly informed on one of the factors that is causing poor reading culture among students, provide them with solutions on how to use ICTs to improve and sustain reading culture in Nigeria; and thereby proffer solutions to the already dwindling literacy level among Nigerian students.
There is no restriction on the use of some ICTs and website among Nigerian students and this has brought about the abuse of ICTs. This work will enable Nigerian government to formulate policies which will help checkmate the uncontrolled influx of some sophisticated ICTs into Nigerian market which constitute distractions to students reading culture.
Similarly, the result of this research work is expected to also help telecommunication firms to discover the influence of uncontrolled access to some telecommunication program and also give them reason to control students‟ excessive use of ICTs in order to help save the nations dwindling education sector.
Furthermore, this study will add to the bulk of existing empirical and conceptual literatures which researchers may find useful in the course of their research work; the recommendations for further studies in this work will create awareness for new areas which are yet to be explored.
Finally, the result of this study is expected to empower parents to discover how to control their children‟s excessive use of ICTs, and help them to use the media to promote their reading culture for better future.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is delimited to undergraduate students of two universities in Edo state, Nigeria. The study will include only the undergraduate students of University of Benin and undergraduate students of Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo state. The content focus of this research work is on reading culture and two forms of ICTs-Internet and television