115.Reading Skills Comprehension: Bookless

By | July 11, 2019

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Tanzanians have the highest literacy rate in Africa but hardly anything to read. Soaring paper costs and interest rates have brought the publishing industry to a virtual standstill.
Educators who have spent years teaching adults to read and write Kiswahili in the shade of trees are disillusioned. They fear the publishing crisis could undermine the achievements of a 20-year literacy campaign. Schools have also been hit hard by the book shortage; in Dar-es-Salaam, one textbook has to be shared among 13 pupils.
At the time of independence in 1961, less than 10 per cent of the population was literate. A concerted effort was launched to boost literacy and extend knowledge of a unifying language – Kiswahili in a nation that spoke 120 different tongues. The campaign was a great success.

 But only six new children’s books have been published since 1986, the Education Minister Amram Mayagila told the National Assembly recently. Newspaper circulation and quality have fallen while prices .have risen in response to increases in the cost of newsprint. Publishers have mountains of material waiting to go to the printers. Thomas Kamugisha, a veteran publisher, says, manuscripts can gather dust for seven years before a publisher has the funds to proceed.
The Southern Paper Mill built in 1985 in the Mufindi district with aid money from Sweden and elsewhere, produces the paper that is more expensive than imports and is often damaged beyond use when it reaches Dar-es-Salaam, 60 kilometres away.
An annual book fair held in Dar-es-Salaam during the second week of September always highlights the pathetic state of the publishing industry. Last year, a book-starved crowd of 150,000 turned out to see what little was on offer. In a country where publishers cannot afford to print books and readers cannot afford to buy them, books are now regarded as another scarce commodity.

Answer the following questions by choosing the most appropriate options from the ones given 


1. What has brought the publishing industry to a standstill?

(a) Soaring paper costs.             (b) Soaring interest rates.

(c) Soaring prices.                        (d) Soaring paper costs and interest rates.

2. Name the unifying language of Tanzanians.

 (a) Kiswahili.                                (b) English.

(c) Dar-es-Salaam.                       (d) None of these.

3. Why is literacy rate very high in Tanzania?

 (a) Because of concentrated efforts to boost literacy.

(b) Because of concerted efforts to boost literacy.

(c) Because of concealed efforts to boost literacy.

 (d) Because of concerted effects to boost illiteracy.

4. Why are books regarded as the scarce commodity?

(a) Publishers cannot afford to print books.

(b) Readers cannot afford to buy books.

(c) Both (a) and (b).

(d) None of these.

5. What is the problem faced by schools?

 (a) One book has to be shared among 13 students.

(b) One book has to be shared among 14 students.

 (c) One copy has to be shared among 13 students.

(d) One copy has to be shared among 14 students.

6. What is the condition of the newspaper industry?

(a) Newspaper quality has fallen due to increasing cost.

(b) Newspaper circulation has fallen due to increasing cost.

 (c) Newspaper circulation and quality have risen.

(d) Newspaper circulation and quality have fallen due to the increase in the cost of newsprint.

7. Which word in the passage means the same as ‘a person having long experience’?

 (a) Veteran.                                   (b) Scarce.

 (c) Commodity.                            (d) Campaign.

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