The General Manager of book publishing and distribution giants, Readwide Limited, Ms Barbara Mark-Wardy, has urged Ghanaians in general and students in particular to cultivate a sustained reading culture to increase their knowledge of the world and the many opportunities that exist around the globe.
She observed that Ghana’s development drive could be accelerated if the citizens made conscious efforts to read extensively to acquire the requisite knowledge for the rapid growth of the various sectors of the economy.
Ms Mark-Wardy made the call when she chaired a ceremony held at the Wesley Girl’s High School in Cape Coast to launch the “Read for Life” Campaign, a five-year nationwide initiative to help revive the culture of reading among Ghanaians, particularly students and pupils.
The campaign, which is sponsored by Mountcrest University College also aims at encouraging Ghanaian children to build personal libraries of at least 20 books by the end of the year 2020.
Under the Library2020 Project, books will be supplied to young people who do not have access to books in order to inspire them to read and improve their knowledge about the world around them.
The Read for Life Campaign and the Library2020 Project will run simultaneously in partnership with schools, parents, the government, the media and the private sector.
Each month, selected books will be announced for the reading pleasure of patrons of the “Read for Life Campaign” and a competition will be held to pick the best readers for special awards.
Two books – “Changes” and “Miss John” have been selected for the month of June and readers are encouraged to take photographs of themselves reading and then post the pictures on social media under the hashtag – “#Get Caught Reading” – to create more excitement around the programme. The campaign will be activated in various parts of the country in the coming months.
Siblings Olivia and Zara Horsham; Nana Yaa, Nana Kwaku and Nana Bonsu Agyeman have been appointed as Readwide Junior Ambassadors, while three outgoing executive members of the Readwide clubs in Holy Child and Wesley Girls have also been selected as Readwide Ambassadors.
They are Georgette Nana Yaa Tedeku, outgoing president of Readwide, Wesley Girls’ High School; Tristen Kotey, outgoing president of Readwide, Holy Child School and Maretta Ato-Sam, outgoing vice-president of Readwide, Holy Child School. They are expected to lead the campaign across the country.
Mrs Irene Ansa-Asare Horsham, Director, Readwide Limited, who launched the campaign announced that active members of the Readwide clubs, who excel at the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will get scholarships to study at the Mountcrest University College.
She called on all Ghanaians to support the crusade to promote positive reading habits among the citizenry, pointing out that, “We will not succeed in this drive unless we all get involved”.
Mrs Horsham said the campaign had already received very positive and encouraging response from schools through their willingness and enthusiasm in establishing Readwide readers’ clubs and permitting Readwide to adopt existing Writers, Debaters, and Drama clubs.
She observed that many parents were not reading with their children and much of the reading done at home tends to be only towards studying textbooks for examinations.
She also noted that reading for pleasure had dwindled considerably among adults and, inevitably, such an interest for children barely exists, hence the launch of the “Read for Life campaign” to reverse the unfortunate situation.
Readwide clubs were established in Cape Coast in the late 1990s at Holy Child School, St. Augustine’s College, Mfantsipim School, and Wesley Girls’ High School to promote reading among students.
“It is refreshing to know that these Readwide clubs are still active, as are about 60 others around the country. I commend Holy Child School and Wesley Girls’ High School for having the two most active Readwide clubs in the country,” Mrs Horsham said.
The Head of Corporate Affairs, Mountcrest University College (MCU), which is the major sponsor of the campaign, Ms Adwoa Asiedu said MCU has out-doored a policy of “Learning For Life For All” as part of which it has instituted a tuition fee rebate of up to 50% for all students who were admitted during the recent intake in March 2019 for law programmes, covering Regular, Evening and Weekend groups.
“This policy is intended, among other aims, to encourage as many people as possible to acquire tertiary education” Ms Asiedu stated.
A team from Readwide Limited earlier visited the Holy Child School to witness a handing over ceremony at which the Old Executive of the school’s Readwide Club handed over the baton of leadership to a new one.
The Patron of the Holy Child School Readwide Club and English Teacher, Mr Mawuli Bensah urged the students to use the lessons they learnt in books to help solve society’s numerous challenges. He pointed out to the students that reading widely could also help them to make sound career choices and improve their public speaking skills.
“Internship with Readwide and the Read for Life Campaign can also open doors for you in the future as you get to meet many professionals who will expose you to many career choices,” the patron said.
The Coordinator of the ‘Read for Life’ Campaign, Mrs Emefa Agyeman led the team to present special prizes to deserving members of the Holy Child Readwide Club.