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Feature Article of Saturday, 27 October 2012

Columnist: Tuokuu, Francis Xavier

Africa must go the e-book way

By Francis Xavier Tuokuu

‘’ The urgency of the hour calls for leaders of wise judgment and sound integrity, leaders not in love with money but in love with justice; leaders not in love with publicity but in love with humanity; leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause’’. (Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.)

A World Bank Report in 2008 indicated that, "Only 1 out of 19 countries studied (Botswana) had adequate textbook provision at close to a 1:1 ratio for all subjects and all grades" in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa which means there are inadequate textbooks on the continent for school children to read.

In a continent where the publishing industry is not in proper shape and where the culture of reading is poor, it will take creativity and political commitment of various governments to help arrest the problem of accessibility to books in particular and quality education in general.

There can be no easier way to solving this problem than the introduction of e-book education where story books, text books, maps; lecture notes and hand-outs can all be converted into electronic forms for both adult and children.

As Dr Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana’s first president) succinctly puts it, ‘‘the educated man should be sensitive to the conditions around him that he makes it his chief endeavour to improve these conditions for the good of all’’. The wind of e-book education is spreading across the world and Africa must move along with this new technology and to do this, the leaders and stakeholders in the educational sector must come together to find solutions to the problems confronting African education.

Giglets Limited, a start-up media company based in Ayrshire, Scotland in the United Kingdom, is a leader in e-books and is ready to partner any organisation or government in Africa to bring e-book education to the doorsteps of the ordinary African. Giglets educational e-books are currently introduced throughout a number of schools in Scotland for literacy, literature and language training.

The former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan was more than right when he said, “Unfortunately, today many schools across the (African) continent remain in need, and millions of children and adults are still without access to books and the tools to reach their full potential.”

Therefore, if this technology is adopted by African educational institutions, in the long term, it will increase literacy rates on the continent as it will make text books accessible and inexpensive to many school children for ‘‘the gift of books truly is a gift of hope’’.

It is by investing in the education of Africa’s children that, the continent can fight poverty, disease and conflicts. Education is the bedrock of Africa’s development and the leaders of the continent must begin to walk the talk for ‘‘we have no time to wait’’.









Francis Xavier Tuokuu is a Freelance Journalist and a Postgraduate Student in Corporate Social Responsibility and Energy (MSc) at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Francis is also an intern with the Public Relations Department of Giglets Limited, a media company in Ayrshire, Scotland (http://www.giglets.net/)

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