The Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (CESRUD), a community-based non-profit organization has called on the government to make a strategic investment in promoting reading among school children, to improve academic performance.
This, it said, could be achieved through the establishment of community and school libraries in various communities and schools to make the available conducive environment and relevant books for children to read.
According to the organization, this would help imbibe reading habits among children especially those at the basic level and contribute to improve performance in school.
Mr Rex Asanga, the Executive Director of CESRUD, made the call at the commissioning of an extended reading hall at the Sumbrungu Community Library in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region.
The expansion work was supported financially by the Amsterdam Bolgatanga Foundation, an NGO based in the Netherlands, and the Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), an American charity organization.
The Sumbrungu Community Library, established in 2003, is part of three community libraries established by CESRUD in collaboration with FAVL.
Mr Asanga asserted that the recent abysmal performance of pupils and students in the country’s educational sector could be attributed to lack of reading habits and the facilities to encourage reading.
“Community and school libraries should be part and parcel of our educational system to enhance reading habit among children,” he said, adding “once the children take reading as a habit, most of the problems we face in our educational sector will be solved.”
The Executive Director explained that apart from the three community libraries, the other two at Sherigu in the Bolgatanga Municipality and Gowrie-Kunkua in the Bongo District, CESRUD had partnered with Biblionef Ghana and other organizations to create and stock mini libraries in all the basic schools in the Bolgatanga West ‘B’ and North Circuits.
He said each school had about 600 books and the situation had resulted in enhanced reading attitude among the children and improved academic work.
“We have been urging the Assemblies to take up the responsibility of paying the librarians so we can expand because in Burkina Faso, that is what is happening and the FAVL have been to establish 34 community libraries in the area,” he added.
Mr Paul Ayutoliya, the CESRUD Libraries Coordinator, said the expansion of the Sumbrungu Community Library was to create more reading space for children to learn comfortably.
He expressed the hope that children would make good use of the facility to enrich their knowledge and improve upon their performance.
Mr Frederick Ayine Agunga-Dongo, the Municipal Coordinator of the Technical Vocational Education and Training who spoke on behalf of Ms Anne Estella Akyee-ebo, the Municipal Director of Ghana Education Service, commended CESRUD and its partners for the immerse contribution to improving quality education in the area.
He called for collective efforts from all stakeholders to address the challenges facing school children including reading habits and urged the children to exhibit good character and use the facility for the intended purpose to ensure maximum results.