For the next 12 months, the global attention of education will turn to Ghana for various reading initiatives and activities as Accra hosts this year’s World Book Capital.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) chose Ghana to host the 2023 World Book Capital, an initiative that focuses on developing the book and creative arts industries.
For a whole year, UNESCO and World Book Capital Cities Network will put the spotlight on the power of books and reading as cornerstones of a more inclusive, equitable, peaceful and sustainable society.
UNESCO, and the book industry, including writers, authors, and publishers, are upbeat that the Accra World Book Capital, 2023, will reinvigorate and promote the domestic book industry; re-imagine the concept of libraries, promote literacy and instil the culture of reading in the youth.
The theme: ‘Reading to connect minds for Social Transformation’ is in line with UNESCO’s mission to ‘build the defences of peace in the minds of men and women’.
This highlights the importance of books and the culture of reading in changing minds, particularly among the youth, as well as creating new bonds of friendship through reading.
At a press briefing in Accra yesterday ahead of the official opening of the event later this month, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would open the year-long event at the Accra International Conference Centre on April 24, where he would host a wide array of important international personalities at the ceremony.
The event is expected to be attended by dignitaries, including members of the diplomatic community in Ghana, UNESCO representatives in the Africa Region and its Paris headquarters, directors and representatives of the United Nations agencies home and abroad, development partners, city mayors from the World Book Capital Network, and personalities from the International Publishers Association (IPA), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), as well as the International Authors Forum (IAF).
UNESCO selected Accra in 2021 as the 2023 World Book Capital, ahead of other cities because its programmatic focus was on young people and their ability to contribute to the culture and wealth of Ghana through the power of reading.
Accra, therefore, becomes the fourth city in Africa to receive this title since 2001, making the vibrant city part of the prestigious World Book Capital Cities Network.
Dr Adutwum stressed the need for schools to inculcate the habit of reading in children at an early age to help create lifelong learners for the country.
He explained that if more children began to read and understand by age 10, that would translate into positive learning outcomes which would result in socio-economic transformation.
“We can’t talk about the transformation of the country without bringing to bear the importance of reading. We need to get our children to read for fun and shouldn’t see it as something that is required by school,” Dr Adutwum said.
The minister added: “If they see it as something required by school, it means they won’t read any longer when they graduate from school and that is not how to create life-long learners.”
As a country, he said it was important to create a reading culture and get children to improve their perception of society and also create an environment where they could become lifelong learners.
The minister believed that literacy was the bridge to the development of prosperity in every nation.
Therefore, he said any country which did not create an environment for children to read and understand by age 10 was likely to be poor.
Ernesticia Lartey Asuinura of the Ghana Book Development Council, who is also the Convenor of the Accra World Book Capital, in a statement, said the year-long activities had come to ignite the spirit of reading and its inherent transformation power to positively impact the Ghanaian society.
That was important in helping to achieve the national goal of becoming a learning nation, she added.
“To achieve these shared objectives, there is a need for collective thinking and collaborative working among stakeholders in education and culture spaces,” the statement said.
The Ghana Book Development Council also urged all stakeholders and participants to ensure that the event lived up to expectation.
“Private sector partners, corporate organisations, the UN family, foundations, and similar institutions are entreated to support this exciting initiative that seeks to connect minds through books for socio-economic transformation,” the statement added.
Source: Graphic Online