A section of librarians in Ghana have expressed concern about lack of reading among majority of school children, leading to the high rate of examination failures.
They said the poor reading habits had led to poor grammar, bad spellings, and the use of short hands, leading to poor performance in examinations.
The librarians blamed the situation on the use of mobile phones rather than the patronage of books, which were available not only in their schools but also in public libraries, adding that the attitude needs to be nib in the bud to ensure the children came out of school better.
The views were expressed during the closing ceremony of the Worldreader’s Local Content for African Libraries (LOCAL) Project held in Accra on Friday.
The event was to hand over the Project to the Ghana Library Authority and to inform stakeholders on the impact of LOCAL and the Project’s next step.
Mr Wilberforce Amoh, Project Officer, Mondelez International, who led the discussion, said the absence of reading was affecting spellings as shorthand was the language of most cellular phone users, which the children imported into examinations.
He said students had stopped going to their school libraries and public libraries and called on teachers, parents and other stakeholders to help revamp reading habit among the students.
Government should also scale-up plans to revamp the library system.
Dr Helena Asamoah-Hassan, Executive Director, Africa Library and Information Associations and Institution (AFLIA), said the project was designed to bring devices that would help children read in their local languages.
She said that global libraries have to ensure that librarians and children have access to information, train middle level librarians and young librarians as well.
Mr Prince Osei Gyamfi, facilitator from the Central Region, said pupils were not visiting the libraries initially but with the introduction of the Worldreader tablets, 24,169 patrons were reached.
He said that 47 outreach and 52-in-house activities were carried out by the region throughout the period of the project.
Madam Ethel Sakitey, Regional Director, Worldreader West Africa, said the focus of the Project was on education and technology, culturally relevant books and was supported by Bill and Belinda Gates’ Foundation.
She said with the help of the e-reader, over 10million people were reading electronically in 52 languages in India and Africa.
Mr Hayford Siaw, Acting Executive Director, Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) called on all stakeholders to get on board to make the Project a success.
The project which was introduced by Worldreader in partnership with African Library and Information Association (AFLIA) under the leadership GhLA was aimed at championing digital reading in underserved communities to create a world where everyone can be a reader.
Mr Samuel Awumenyo, Programmes Manager for Worldreader, said the introduction of the e-reader in libraries in Ashanti, Central and Volta Regions had increased the interest of reading in children.