13 Nov STUDY ON THE ROLE OF DIGITAL & PRINT MEDIA IN ENHANCING LITERACY AND READING CULTURE IN AFRICA
This report was commissioned to examine the general context of literacy and reading culture in Africa while focusing
on the contribution of printed books and digital materials. It explores their challenges and suggests interventions that optimize reading of printed books and digital content to improve literacy for a better reading culture in Africa both in international and national languages.
The research draws attention to the fact that as the number of printed books is expanding to reach a variety of
audiences, with a range of topics and knowledge;electronic publishing (e-pub) is equally expanding rapidly.
The two options are now available to publishers and the choice of a publisher will depend on a number of factors such as the cost, objectives and the prevailing circumstances. Numerous reports indicate that many pupils and students go through primary and secondary school without acquiring sufficient reading skills that can help them secure a good future in the world of work, which subsequently culminate into National Development.
According to UNESCO (2015), literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning.
A literate community is a dynamic one that exchanges ideas and engages in debate as opposed to illiteracy
which is an obstacle to a better quality of life, and can even breed exclusion and violence. Africa still experiences low literacy levels and poor reading culture despite the availability of printed books and digital content.
Since the year 2000, literacy rates for adults have improved; reaching 85% globally but sub-Saharan Africa and
South and West Asia have the lowest rates. The global literacy rate for all males is 90 % and the rate for all
females is 82.7 %.
The rate varies throughout the world with developed nations having a rate of 99.2%, South
and West Asia having 70.2% and Sub-Saharan Africa having 64% (UNESCO, 2015). Over 75% of the World’s
781 Million illiterate adults are found in South Asia, West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and women represent
almost two thirds of all illiterate adults globally. The report recommends that since technology will not replace reading in the near future, it is imperative to use the technology to enhance it. Reading on paper will always remain
important and enjoyable and this means that the printed book will never lose its value and importance. It is
fundamental that parents, teachers and other stakeholders come together to cultivate and nurture
a love of reading especially among children and assist in making reading a lifetime habit.
Publishing houses are encouraged to keep up with technological developments and produce content that meets the needs of readers, specifically addressing their ever-changing demands while harnessing the value of printed books.