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THE IMPACT OF INTERNET ON THE READING HABIT OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS
1.1 Background of the Study
Reading serves as a tool for students’ enhancement of intellectual properties of people from generation to generations so as to ensure continuous human and societal transformations and developments. Reading is an act 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 it’s 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 and content of information material for immediate or future use. The importance of reading is a prerequisite for the appreciation of reading as a tool for the enhancement of human intellectual abilities.
The nation as a political entity is not exempted from enjoying the benefits that emanate from the 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 pre-condition 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 read voraciously because every unknown word or term is looked up in a dictionary (Divya, 2007). Most Nigerian students depend on reading literature to improve on their command of English language and habit of reading good literature helps them identify new words and phrases which may be encountered in everyday conversation.
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 development strategy to individuals and nations.
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. The Polytechnic library uses statistics to present overwhelming evidence that the number of students who use the library 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 super highway has brought reading materials to the doorsteps of polytechnic 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 the students 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), 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 the counterpart all over the world.
Fortunately, observation has shown that the potential to harness readability among students. It can provide polytechnic undergraduate students with television channels where discussion on educating literatures or book review can trigger curiosity for further reading of such books.
Furthermore, studies have shown that general news headline and the summary of the news and events can contribute positively to reading habit by triggering the interest of students to purchase the newspaper for full details of the content of such information material. Furthermore, polytechnic 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 internet.
However, polytechnic students experience challenges and difficulties in their daily use of internet either for academic purpose or otherwise. Some students tend to be faced with serious distraction because of their inability to resist the screen while using internet social etc. seems to have far reading implication for students reading culture because the pressure to watch movies and interacts with people and loved ones via internet seems to be overwhelming. Students may not be possible kept away from the use of ICTs because of the range of opportunities it offers to its users. Therefore effort is being made to proffer solutions to the problems encountered by students which the use of internet in promoting reading habit.
1.1.1 History of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic
Akwa Ibom Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua was established on 1st December 1991, by Akwa Ibom State Edict No.2 of 1991, to inherit the facilities of the former campus of the University of Cross River State now University of Uyo to train technical Manpower for Nigeria. Their mission is to produce highly competitive meddle manpower for Nigeria and the global society. While their vision is the emergence of a Centre of Excellence and an institution of choice among tertiary education establishments in Nigeria.
Furthermore, functions and responsibilities of the School are:
To provide courses of instruction training and research
(i) In the field of Applied Science, Technology, Commerce and Business Management.
(ii) In such other fields of learning as the polytechnic may from time to time determine.
To organize conference, seminars, studies and other activities relating to the field of learning specified in paragraph A.
To hold examinations and award certificates, Diplomas and other academic distinctions to persons who;
(i) Have pursed any course of study.
(ii) Have satisfied such other requirements as the polytechnic may prescribe from time to time.
(d) To do such other things and acts as the Polytechnic may deem necessary for the performance of its functions under this edict.
Akwa Ibom Polytechnic is located in Ikot Osurua, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It was founded in 1991. The Polytechnic has schools of Applied Sciences, Communication Arts. Preliminary Studies, Business and Management, Engineering Environmental Studies and legal Studies. The polytechnic is owned by Akwa Ibom State. In 2010, the state allocated about N1billion to enhance the polytechnic.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Reading among polytechnic students is the basic foundation of literacy and also assists in the promotion of comprehension and critical thinking skills. Consequently, the development of reading habits among polytechnic students empowers human resources, enhances the acquisition of general knowledge and broadmindedness, in order to champion the much expected sustainable development in the education and other sectors of the economy.
Furthermore, the use of information and communication technologies for reading purposes among polytechnic undergraduate students enhances learning faster and increases academic productivity and opportunities, and promote creativity. However, when it becomes a substitute for good reading, it becomes an issue that should be given concern. In the 21st century, it has been observed that polytechnic students spend time in some form of internet or the other such as internet, laptops, computers, cable television, palmtops, Ipads, GSM phones, smart phones, etc. The interest in reading is challenged and seems to have waned significantly.
Consequently, internet seems to have progressively taking a steady control over the reading culture of undergraduate students in Nigerian polytechnics. Our reading habit seems to be further impoverished, the effects of poor reading habit is experienced where the quality of graduate falls below standard, the rate of examination malpractice is very high, and the country keeps battling with education and economic under development.
In view of this, this study seeks to find out how internet can be used to enhance continuous reading habit among Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic Students.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to ascertain student’s perceptions of the contributions of internet towards the reading culture of Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic Students.
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