Professor Jacob Nato is a lecturer at Kenyatta University. He lectures in the school of Economics. Bellapace had a chance to interact with him and the session was phenomenal. He is an avid reader and his vast knowledge is dazzling.
No one has time, we create it. Those who claim not to have time will stagnate for as long in their goals. I don’t consider reading as a residual activity but rather part of my daily routine. I include it as I plan for my day and strictly read at that time .
Bp: What is your thought on our reading culture?
Prof. Nato: Our reading culture is good especially for academic purposes when we have examinations. However, we need to put more effort when it comes to reading for pleasure at individual and national level.
Bp: From a lecturer’s perspective, how essential is it to read beyond what we are taught in class.
Prof. Nato: It is very useful since lecturers work under a schedule and they focus on main points. To be more informed and knowledgeable, a student should go an extra mile to read from other sources as journals, newspapers and books. They should view reading as a source of wealth of knowledge that can be used to overcome some challenges in life and with that reasoning, students will read more.
Bp: What is your current read?
Prof Nato: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Writing Skills by open up studies.
Bp: You have quite a number of responsibilities; you are a PhD student, a lecturer and a parent. How do you create time to read?
Prof. Nato: No one has time, we create time. Those who claim not to have time will stagnate for as long. I don’t consider reading as a residual activity but rather part of my daily routine. I include it as I plan for my day and strictly read at that time .My wife and friends understand the value of reading and are supportive making it more convenient for me. My advice to families and friends is to support each other in reading and respect personal reading time or even more interesting do it together!
Bp: Being a parent, what age do you think is fit to inculcate the reading culture on children and how should it be done?
Prof. Nato: When my kids hit four years, I start encouraging them to read by reading to, and with them. I assist them create a timetable ,follow up on them and act as a role model so that they can emulate .It makes them enjoy reading even the school work when they view reading as a fun activity as opposed to a chore.
Bp: What criteria do you use to pick on the next book?
Prof. Nato: Depending on my needs, for instance, my current book on writing skills, referrals from friends, titles of books that are in my areas of interest and the availability of the book as well.
BP: What is your favorite quote?
Prof. Nato: Love one another.
Bp: Being an economist, what role does education and reading in general have towards achieving vision 2030?
Prof. Nato: They are the most important pillars towards vision 2030 for three reasons. Reading makes the society knowledgeable. Researches have proved that a nation that is literate develops much faster. Reading also builds on human capital that completes the physical and social capital. Reading will see immoral activities go down the drain and youths will focus on what is relevant which will be a plus for our economy.
Bp: To promote more reading what can be done at individual, institutional and national level?
Prof Nato : Reading has a demand and supply side.At individual level, create time to read, plan for it and identify a need that will increase your human capital base. Institutions should not just stock academics books but also books that will have an informed society. Primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities should come up with a plan to accommodate everyone who is willing to access the library facilities and not strictly students of the institution. Reading is a positive externality which the government should continue supporting.
Bp: Tell us about a book have you read and wouldn’t mind starting it all over again.
Prof. Nato: Writing skills by open up studies as it has been of great assistance to writing my PhD proposal.
Bp: Parting shot.
Prof. Nato: Read and be knowledgeable not just for today,but for the future.Education is sufficient inheritance.