Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Uncovering Reading Habits of University Students in Uganda: Does ICT Matter?

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Uncovering Reading Habits of University Students in Uganda: Does ICT Matter?

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The pervasive nature of information and communication technologies (ICT) has resulted in a fundamental shift in the way people access and read materials. Reading is an interactive process of sense making from printed or written words and is key to success in any academic pursuit and indeed in life. However the black people have rhetorically been known to have a poor reading culture. Lewis H. Michaux (a black American activist and book seller who lived between 18841976) once said "the best way to hide something from a black man is to put it in a book". A person's reading habit is developed over time; it therefore goes beyond the ability to just read and write to play a very crucial role in a person's day-to-day life to a point when it evolves into a habit and eventually a culture. According to Jönsson and Olsson (2008:27) "a reading culture means that reading is part of a specific culture and a habit that is shared and valued highly by that particular society". The African culture is "an oral society" where people do more chatting than reading (Jönsson, & Olsson 2008; Mulindwa as cited in Nalusiba 2010). Research on reading culture in the African context has been conducted in the recent past by many researchers (Aliyu & Bilkisu 2012; Doiron & Asselin 2010; Ifedili 2009; Jönsson & Olsson 2008; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010; Ogwu 2010; Otike 2011; Owusu-Acheaw, 2014; Ruterana 2012a, 2012b). These studies have attempted to assess the reason for the continued poor reading culture of Africans and proposed ways of improving it. This poor reading habit has been attributed to factors such as the colonial education system, limited access to reading materials, effect of the mother tongue (Ruterana 2012a), poor government policies, (Aliyu & Bilkisu 2012; Otike 2011), poor parental training and nurturing, limited disposable income, reluctance by teachers to nurture it and the rooted use of oral communication (Doiron & Asselin 2010; Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010). Jönsson and Olsson (2008) purported that we are faced with two cultures; the home culture that is dominated by oral communication usually in a local language and the school culture that is based around colonial education system centred on reading and writing. Even though the oral culture of Africans allows for interaction within their society, reading and writing is a global and dominant culture that must be adopted for interoperability with other cultures.

Previous research studies on whether ICT has impacted reading culture have mostly been limited to the Western context (Liu 2005; Nicholas, Huntington, Jamali, Rowlands, Dobrowolski & Tenopir 2008). Africa has tapped into ICT with a lot of public and private sector reforms to benefit from it; however has ICT had any effect on the reading culture of Africans? Ugandan universities (Baryamureeba, 2007) have embarked on developing ICTs and specifically access to the Internet to facilitate learning and reading through subscription to e-resources. Bradford (2012) establishes that technology has rewired the brain infrastructure and hence impacted our reading habits, specifically looking at deep reading. This notwithstanding, the reading culture has seemingly not significantly changed. In many cases, students in Africa only read classroom materials whenever there are assignments but do not engage in leisure reading (Kaberia 2012; Nalusiba 2010). Ifedili (2009) emphasizes the importance of good reading culture that succinctly include improvement of individual's welfare, social progress and international understanding.

In this study, we delve on reading habits of university students in terms of reading class work and leisure reading. Leisure reading is any reading done by choice for pleasure. It has been found to improve "fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, cognitive development, verbal skills, content knowledge", among others (Covert, 2009:1). The extent to which university students use these ICTs for reading may be linked to their home and school culture; whether they were exposed to them at an earlier time and disposable income; their ability to afford the ICTs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.