By Maxwell Okamafo Addo
The Wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Amissah-Arthur, has stated that when pupils and students read often, they are able to understand the English language and would perform better and pass in examinations.
The Second Lady, Mrs. Amissah-Arthur was speaking at the launch of the second Library and Information Week, held at the Central Library in Accra.
The celebration would be climaxed with series of activities, including a three day reading clinic for selected school pupils in the Northern region, radio and television programmes.
The nationwide event, which would be held simultaneously in all the regional capitals, is spearheaded by the Ghana Library Association (GLA), in collaboration with the Ghana Library Authority.
It is on the theme: ‘Information Literacy at Your School’, the weeklong celebration seeks to showcase the invaluable contribution of libraries in broadening pupils’ scope of knowledge, highlights books, and make pupils see the importance of reading.
She encouraged parents and teachers to make books a constant gift for their children, especially during their birthdays and Christmas seasons and spend less on toys and computer games.
She called on teachers not to lock up books, but rather must show the pupils how to keep the books so that they don’t destroy them.
She said “Parents, please buy books for your children, and not computer hand held games, these days you are spending so much money buying electronic devices and not books, and that’s also the reason our children are not reading”.
She continued that reading is said to be an integral part of formal education and helps the reader to broaden his or her scope of knowledge.
She reiterated the need for parents, teachers and adults to buy more books and encourage children to visit the libraries, so as to inculcate the habit of reading in children, instead of allowing them spend more time playing games on the Internet.
Mrs. Matilda Amissah-Arthur said, reading a book has always been better, and more beneficial than reading on the Internet, especially for pupils, saying “when you read and you read wide, you are exposed to other cultures…the internet is good, you read on it and how many of you can take the Internet into your bed, and when you can’t sleep you read on it? But all of you, if you can’t sleep, you can get up and get a book and turn the pages….so we are encouraging you to read, but if you cannot read a book you are holding, you’ll never be able to read on the Internet because reading on the computer is more difficult.”
The President of the Ghana Library Association, Dr. Perpetua Dadzie, on her part attributed the poor performance of pupils and students, especially at the Basic and Senior High School (SHS) levels, to the lack of their ability to comprehend the English language. She advocated that public libraries and those in schools should be well stocked and pupils encouraged to take up reading as a hobby.
The Acting Executive Director of the Ghana Library Authority, Mr. Adjei Apenteng, commended the success of the first Library and Information Week which was held last year. He said many organizations such as the Ghana Book Trust, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and partners from China, have come to the aid of the Authority to make the services of the public libraries more accessible to the public.