Readwide Limited, publishers and distributors of top class books, has initiated a five-year nationwide campaign dubbed ‘Read for Life” to help revive the culture of reading for pleasure among Ghanaians, particularly students and pupils.
The campaign, which is sponsored by Mountcrest University College, has been launched at the Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast. The programme also aims at encouraging every child in Ghana to build his or her own personal library of at least 20 books by the end of the year 2020.
According to the organisers of the campaign, the personal library initiative will be executed through what they called the Library2020 Project, under which young people who cannot afford to buy books or whose parents cannot get books for them, will be given access to` books to inculcate in them a healthy practice of reading.
The Read for Life Campaign and the Library2020 Project will run concurrently 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 campaign.
Mrs Irene Ansa-Asare Horsham, Director, Readwide Limited, who launched the campaign 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”.
She 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.
“It is in this vein that we welcome the partnership and support of parents, schools, the government, the media and the private sector to make this pledge a reality. We know that it is very ambitious but we firmly believe and are optimistic that it can be done if we all get involved,” the Director stressed.
Mrs Horsham observed that many parents are 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 has dwindled considerably among adults and, inevitably, such an interest for children barely exists.
“In many homes, especially in the rural areas, parents may be excused for not reading with their children because of limited access to books. In other homes, it may be a question of time or in some cases, of inability of the parents to read. In those circumstances, the onus of promoting the culture of reading among children naturally shifts to schools,” she pointed out.
Selecting Cape Coast as the host city for the launch of the campaign, she said, was by no means an accident because the first cluster of 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.
She said it was refreshing to know that these Readwide clubs are still active, as are about 60 others around the country. She commended Holy Child School and Wesley Girls’ High School for having the two most active Readwide clubs in the country.
The Director announced the appointment of her two daughters, Olivia and Zara Horsham as Readwide Junior Ambassadors. Other junior ambassadors are siblings – Nana Yaa, Nana Kwaku and Nana Bonsu Agyeman.
Three outgoing executive members of the Readwide clubs in Holy Child and Wesley Girls were also appointed 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.
Addressing the students, the Head of Corporate Affairs, Mountcrest University College (MCU), which is the major sponsor of the campaign, Ms Adwoa Asiedu said one major requirement of tertiary institutions in Ghana is that all students undertake research, write and orally defend their thesis.
These skills, she emphasised, could only be acquired through regularly reading not only textbooks but other materials to prepare students. “It is for this that MCU is proud to sponsor the Read for Life campaign and the Library2020 project,” she said.
“To this end, MCU has out-doored its 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.
According to the MCU Corporate Affairs Chief, last year, out of the intake at the Ghana School of Law, 16% were Mountcrest alumni. She said in April, the first batch of BSc. and MSc. students in Public Health and Health Services Management graduated, adding that MCU’s doors are open to students who wish to study and obtain top quality degrees that guarantee them a great future.
The Chairperson for the launching ceremony, Ms Barbara Mark-Wardy, who is also the General Manager of Readwide Limited, encouraged Ghanaians in general and students in particular to cultivate a sustained reading culture to increase their knowledge of the world and its numerous opportunities.
A team from Readwide Limited including the General Manager, Ms Mark-Wardy; the Coordinator of the ‘Read for Life’ Campaign, Mrs Emefa Agyeman; the Head of Corporate Affairs, MCU, Ms Asiedu, and Mrs Horsham, 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.
Addressing the students at the handing over event, Mrs Horsham 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 therefore charged members of the club to take their studies seriously and also read more books to broaden their world-view.
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.
Deserving members of the Holy Child Readwide Club were presented with special prizes. The campaign will be activated in various parts of the country in the coming months.