By Cecil Mensah
Members of the Ghana Book Publishers Association (GBPA), the umbrella body of book publishers, have appealed for support from the governing National Democratic Congress to preserve the cultural heritage of the country, by way of publishing books for children to read.
This does not mean that,” we want freebies as private people from the government because books are part of the cultural heritage of every country,’’ the members were quick to add.
The members said, countries like Britain, Germany and Canada, have supported the book publishing industry to preserve their cultural heritage over the years.
They claimed these countries, have created special funds for the support of the publishing industries in those countries.
According to them, every country needs to support the publishing industry to preserve its cultural heritage by way of books.
They contend that the government can support the industry by offering rebates to the local publishing companies.
Mr. Elliot Agyare, President of the Association, joined his members to make this appeal at a press conference to mark this year’s World Book Day in Accra.
He said, the day was a symbolic date in the world of literature and it was on this same date in 1616 that, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso De La Vega, all died as authors.
He said, the day was to pay world –wide tribute to books, authors and to encourage everyone particularly, the young ones to discover the pleasure in reading.
According to him, the day has been marked over the past nineteen years to celebrate authors, illustrators and books, across the world.
He explained that countries like England and Ireland, use the day to encourage children to explore the pleasure of reading.
He said, the persistent poverty, irrational religion and ethnic conflicts in this part of the world, where illiteracy is established, could be corrected through reading.
“We therefore need a concerted campaign in the country against all forms of illiteracy; it is against this backdrop that the association is proposing that the day be elevated to a national cultural event,” he said.
He called on all government agencies in charge of education and culture to come on board to make the day, an important reading and literacy day in the country.
He said, illiteracy acts as an unnecessary barrier to national development, recognition, and international competitiveness.
Ghana needs a literate population that is capable of making informed decisions about a whole range of issues namely social, environmental, economic, cultural and political challenges that lay ahead of the nation.