I have written about the failure rate of Grades 10 and 12 Namibian learners in my previous articles. In this article I want to highlight the importance of reading and of libraries in our schools and communities.
Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned neurosurgeon, had no competition of last place in his class, i.e. he was the number zero in his class. Number last, until something magical came his way – reading. His mother had put him on a reading program; two books every week from the library, plus a summary of what he would read. I urge every student to read this book: Think Big: unleashing your potential for excellence. In this book, Dr. Ben Carson prescribes his personal formula for success. And who could better advise than a man who has transformed himself from a ghetto kid into the most celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon in the world? With an acrostic, Dr. Carson spells out his philosophy of living: T-Talents/time: Recognize them as gifts. H -Hope for all good things and be honest. I -Insight from people and good books. N -Be nice to all people. K -Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living. B -Books: Read them actively. I -In-depth learning skills: Develop them. G -God: Never get too big for Him. Think Big emphasizes how to evaluate and respond to problems in order to overcome them and make the most of your inner potential.
Books open worlds that are hidden. Read them, and you will find out how sweet things can be for you. But if you do not open them, the world will remain closed for you, and opportunities will be few and understanding will be limited; most learners will fail their final examinations, or there will be little progress altogether. Reading books is a tried-and-tested antidote that works for everyone. Try it and prove me wrong. Just compare yourself with someone down at your village who dropped out of school years ago, and you will see how far you have gone.
Government should prioritize libraries in schools for Namibia to have a better pass rate in both Grade 10 and Grade 12 exams. If this one aspect of education – libraries – is overlooked, the results will be the same very year. Only a handful will progress. The majority will be in the streets, and this is not wanted.