Libraries Are Vital for Education

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Those of us involved in education know that Namibia does not have a reading culture, and studies have proven that Grade 6 learners are notoriously lacking the ability to read comprehensively with fluency. So said Thea Seefeldt, Regional Education Centre in the Khomas Region, on Saturday morning at the Windhoek Public Library Open Day. A fun-filled reading encouragement programme was presented to the benefit of the reading community in the capital. “It is no news that learners leave the lower primary phase without being able to read with understanding. Therefore, the Ministry of Education is repeatedly encouraging more efforts to be put into basic reading skills of learners, especially those at school entry level,” Seefeldt said. Retired Professor Aldo Behrens was one of two artists who entertained the learner and parent audience by reading from specific books. “Libraries, as knowledge media centres, need to provide access to the old and the new to make such knowledge accessible to all citizens as part of meeting the goals of Vision 2030. Thus, innovative ways of teaching need to be brought into community libraries and the public needs to be encouraged to participate in such programmes,” Seefeldt suggested. The deputy director of the Namibia National Library Association, Elias Manga, also emphasized on Saturday the importance of the availability of libraries to acquire knowledge. “Qualities such as lifelong learning skills and productivity are all regarded as important ingredients to build a knowledge-based economy through libraries. Therefore, the challenge facing our libraries and information centres is to provide service, which endeavours to meet the needs of the community within which it operates,” said Elias Manga of libraries which, in his view, are learning centres for formal and informal education.