Books and education in East Africa and the Horn of
Seminar at Thames Valley University, London, March 1999
Dr Anthony Olden is a senior lecturer in
the Centre for Information Management, Thames Valley University, St
Mary's Road, Ealing, London W5 5RF, England.
Tel +44 181 231 2983, e-mail: Tony.Olden@tvu.ac.uk
Timed to take place just before the 1999 London
International Book Fair, this seminar* drew participants
from the World Bank, donor organisations, NGOs, libraries, publishing
firms and universities. Professor Lalage Bown's opening talk focused
on literacy in Uganda and beyond. Literacy empowers people to take
part in decision-making; without it people are deprived of resources,
power and justice. The present Ugandan government believes that literacy
is essential to the workings of a democratic system. We should, she
continued, be talking about literacies rather than literacy, because
different levels and kinds of literacy are necessary for survival
in different circumstances.
Africa, said author Goretti Kyomuhendo of Femrite
(the Uganda Women Writers Association), is an oral society. It seemed
unnatural to her to see people on an aeroplane reading instead of
chatting to those in the seats next to them.
Winette Field, a former volunteer in Eritrea,
talked about library provision for children in Eritrea. Libraries
at senior secondary school level are well established but the stock
is old. The middle-aged director of one private school admitted the
library books were the same ones he had used as a pupil.
Dr Said Shire - economist turned social worker
- talked about public library provision in the Republic of Somaliland,
contrasting it unfavourably with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets,
one of the poorest boroughs in Britain, where he now lives and works.
Daniel Rotich, a Moi University lecturer currently
studying at Thames Valley University, spoke about the marketing of
textbooks in Kenya, in particular the changes under market liberalisation.
Alli Mcharazo used examples from his PhD thesis
to illustrate distance education and information provision in Tanzania.
The Open University of Tanzania was established in 1993. Female enrolment
is disappointingly low, however, because of the greater obstacles
women still face in advancing educationally.
* Seminar sponsored by Thames
Valley University, London with the assistance of the Southern African
Book Development Education Trust (SABDET). [end] [BPN, no 25,
1999, p 7]
to table of contents for BPN Newsletter 25, 1999>>