Perceptions of final year undergraduate education students about the influence of a reading culture on their academic achievement at selected universities in Tanzania.
Mwageni, Rhodes Elias.
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The study investigated the perceptions of final year undergraduate education students about the influence of a reading culture on their academic achievement at selected universities in Tanzania. Four universities were involved in the study namely: Sokoine University of Agriculture, Mzumbe University, Teofilo Kisanji University and University of Iringa. Social Cognitive Theory informed the study. Pragmatism paradigm underpinned this study, while mixed methods using survey questionnaire and interviews were used for the data collection. Questionnaire was used to collect data from 312 students and 62 lecturers while interview was administered to 50 subject librarians. Quantitative data were analysed using IBM SPSS version 20.0 to generate tables, charts, percentages and frequencies, while Chi-square was generated to determine relationships between variables. Finally, qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis. Reliability and validity were ensured by adopting instruments from studies with acceptable Cronbach’s Alpha value of >0.7. The study adhered to the ethical protocol of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings showed that there was a high level of awareness among students, lecturers, and librarians regarding influence of reading culture on students’ academic achievements. The students perceived their reading self-efficacies as enabler to promoting reading culture. The findings revealed students rarely spent time reading for leisure, for information or for entertainment. The results also showed students rarely visited the library. The results further showed that factors which motivated students to read include reading to gain knowledge, reading for entertainment purposes, reading for examinations, tests, assignments and research projects. The study concluded that students in universities lacked reading culture but were motivated to read for the purpose of passing examinations, tests, assignments and research projects. There was absence of policy on reading culture and this impacted negatively on students’ academic achievement. The study consequently advanced recommendations among them strategies, policy, curricular transformation, programmes and guidelines in order to improve academic achievement of students.