The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, has described literature as a vital tools for promoting understanding and cultural values.
Mamman said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 13th Literature in Northern Nigeria Conference with theme “Literature and Environment in Northern Nigeria.
The minister, represented by Dr Yusuf Saeed, the Director, Reform Coordination and Service Improvement in the ministry, said the conference would go a long way in promoting the country’s cultural values.
He said that it was heartwarming that scholars were beginning to look at the ignored and silent aspect of knowledge and research.
In his remarks, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja (UniAbuja), said that people were trained within the scope of their languages, culture and folklore.
According to him, cultural productions, values, language and folklore represent everything about people and environment where they come from.
“The language we speak helps to tell who we are and how we behave and represent our environment.
“The way we are trained is within the scope of our language, culture and our folklore.
“When you go to our folklore, you will see element of science, technology, values and expectations of the society in you.”
The vice chancellor said that cultural innovations had always been there, adding that, innovation was not anything new to Nigerian culture.
“Innovation should be inward. Think about what we need to advance within our cultural realities and bring out innovations that will suit our ways of life,” he said.
According to him, novelists, singers and folklore should be able to represent what is happening in the society in their books and songs.
Similar, Dr Bukar Usman, President, Nigeria Folklore Society said there was a great relationship between literature and the environment.
According to him, this is because we invariably a product of our environment.
Usman said that a vivid and classic example of the relationship between literature and environment could be found in folktale narratives.
According to him, these narratives invariably use animals or objects commonly found in our environment to depict and inculcate societal values in child upbringing.
“The issue of relationship between literature and environment remains ever constant in the determinants of literature content and thrust.
“Until recently, Northern Nigeria is notable for radio listening habit over reading. This stems largely from the previous prevalence of low literacy in Western education compared to other parts of the federation.
“Although huge gains have been made in the acceptance and spread of western education in the North, the number of out-of-school children remains disturbingly high,”he said.
Usman stressed the need to upscale reading and writing in Northern Nigeria, adding that television viewing, social media are posing varied challenges to fostering the reading habit.
He said there was need for a sustained and all round concerted effort to uplift the provision of Western education in Northern Nigeria.
According to him, this conference will provide the academic community, literary-minded individuals, groups the opportunity to appraise and upgrade the state of literature in Northern Nigeria.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria