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22.07.2009 Education

Reading habit falling among Ghanaians - Director

By gna
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Accra, July 21, GNA – Mr Sammy Longman Attakumah, Head of Human Resource Department of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs has expressed concern about the falling reading habits among Ghanaians despite the availability of books.

“As a people, we tend to say good-bye to serious reading as soon as we leave school.”

Mr Attakumah said this when he launched in Accra, the International Literacy Day Project, organized by, an event management organization in collaboration with Positive Mindset International School.

Precise Image Communication is organizing a series of activities including a quiz competition for some selected Junior High Schools in Accra as part of the United Nations International Literacy Day celebration on September 8, 2009.

The UN Literacy day is set aside to sensitize the world about the significance of literacy and the need to eradicate illiteracy across board.

The launch was on the theme: “Habitual Reading: a Tool for Building an Informed Society for Accelerated Development.”

Mr Attakumah said; “The situation is even worsening, because students in most schools these days read and cram their notes only when examination is a week away.”

He said in a world where development thrived on information, consistent reading was indispensable and irreplaceable.

He said it was the collective responsibility of parents and teachers to ensure that the nation had a society that read, understood and contributed to issues for accelerated development.

Mr Attakumah said; “I was surprised to know however that, some teachers were not even aware that there was a day such as the International Literacy Day,” adding; “It is very unfortunate that a day such as Valentines Day that has comparably little benefit to offer has gained more popularity even among children below ten years old.”

He said it was now accepted that education was the principal strategy for minimizing poverty and diseases.

Mr Attakumah said; “Ghana, as a member of the UN must take such a day seriously especially as it is widely known that the fastest growing and most developed nations are those that need to fully embrace literacy in order to have lesser illiterate population.”

Mr Albert Forson, Executive Director of Positive Mindset International said a UNESCO research indicated that about 774 million people in the world were illiterates of which women formed 64 per cent.

He said 42 per cent of Ghana's population was illiterate and that women constituted the greater percentage, adding that literacy rates among children and adults also continued to fall thus affecting the ability of people to perform well during examinations.

“This situation, undoubtedly explains the slow pace of Ghana's development. Where literacy levels are high, development is also fast,” Mr Forson said.

He said; “The high level of poverty, diseases, low standard of living and the general under development that have engulfed many nations is obviously due to the high rate of illiteracy arising from lack of interest in acquiring information and sustained reading.”

Mr Forson said there were some students who had all the facilities at their disposal and yet did not read and that there was the need for an educational system that integrated reading into the core of the curriculum at all levels.

He said; “We need to build a nation of avid readers who truly value our literature, languages and culture.”

Mr Forson called on government and stakeholders to vigorously promote the value of reading at national, regional and local levels, saying; “If indeed we are to achieve our development agenda within the specific period, then we need to acquire the right and adequate information, and of course this depends largely on our love for reading.”

He appealed to parents to limit the television viewing time of their wards and ensure that they cultivated the habit of reading since parents would be the first beneficiaries of their children's success.

GNA

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