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Regional News of Thursday, 7 February 2008

Source: GNA

Make reading compulsory in schools - Appenteng

Accra, Feb. 7, GNA - Government has been urged to re-instate reading as a compulsory subject in the curricula of schools to develop the culture of reading in the country.

"It should be made compulsory for every child at the basic and secondary school level to read for a number of hours and be examined on it at the end of the term to ensure that the youth, who are the future leaders cultivate the habit of reading," Mr. Kwasi Gyan Appenteng, Media Consultant to Readwide limited, a book selling company, said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at a media reception held as part of activities marking the 12th anniversary of Readwide Limited. "In the past we used to have the blue and red book which was compulsory for pupils and students to read and it promoted the culture of reading among the youth. Since the curriculum was tampered with, the youth have become reluctant to enter libraries and read or go to bookshops to ask for the price of a book," he added. Mr Appenteng noted that the lack of reading culture has become a stumbling block to the country's efforts to increase its literate population.

He urged the government and the private sector to concentrate on deprived communities and schools which do not have access to libraries and cannot afford the cost of books. "Every district must have a library and the Ghana Library Board should be well resourced to enable it stock these district libraries with enough books.

He advised the media to carry information and messages that would shape the consciousness of parents, good corporate citizens, philanthropists and other stakeholders to ensure that children in deprived communities are empowered and encouraged to read. Mr Appenteng urged the media to review books, organize quiz competitions and embark on other initiatives that would develop the culture of reading. Mrs. Rita Owusu, General Manager in-charge of Operations, Readwide, urged parents and guardians to set up book clubs in homes for their children to enable them cultivate the habit of reading. She advised parents to give books as presents to their children on special occasions instead of gifts that would not develop their knowledge base. Readwide limited has embarked on two initiatives dubbed "Read for life" and "Ghana Reads" in response to the perception that Ghanaians are not reading as much as was the case in the past.

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