On September 16, 2008, I announced on this blog that the Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN) was planning a national conference to be held in University of Uyo, Nigeria. The Conference took place from October 6 to 9. The first day was devoted to an up-skilling workshop for primary and high school teachers to acquaint them with current trends in teaching reading. The workshop was free for teachers of government schools; those from private schools had to pay. This was commendable social service by RAN.
There was a keynote address which focused on literacy structures for educational advancement and manpower development. The speaker stressed the strong challenges before RAN in its efforts to promote reading in Nigeria. One of the most interesting papers presented at the Conference was the one with the title: "Literacy skills in the language of medicine: the layman’s survival strategy".
Edidiong Umana presented the paper she and I prepared. (That is her picture to your left). Our paper carried the title: “Nigerian newspapers as sources of sickle cell education: what is there to read?” Our content analysis of Nigerian newspapers showed that despite the high prevalence of sickle cell disorder in Nigeria, the print media give it only minute attention—unlike HIV/AIDS. AIDS campaigns get international sponsorship and so attract media attention. We argued that the current greatest criterion for news selection is not found on the pages of journalism textbooks. That criterion is profit. Click here for the abstract. For the full version of the paper, send an email to Edidiong (email@example.com).
Contrary to what I predicted in my September 16 announcement of the Conference, not many presenters made recommendations to government. (But the joint communique issued at the end of the Conference did). Does this suggest that individual Nigerian scholars are losing faith in government? Are they asking: of what use have been the recommendations made to government over the ages? Is this doubt, disaffection or cynicism? Whatever the answer might be, it is important to know that I am not a reliable prophet.