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Ghana continues to work at improving the state of teaching and learning in its formal and informal educational sectors. In September, according to the government, students enrolled in public senior high schools will start benefiting from the Free Senior High School policy.

The policy will cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. And according to the President, Nana Akuffo-Addo, the policy will ensure that Ghanaians who qualify for SHS are not burdened with financial difficulties. This news is welcoming.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the vital role of reading for both students and tutors, as part of quality education. Reading is at the heart of all transformational education, whether its spending time with textbooks or reading captivating creative pieces.

Engaging our minds with literature cannot be underestimated. It’s rather unfortunate that in Ghana and many African countries, the habit of reading is considered poor when graded, suggesting that the old saying is true, “if you want to hide something from African put it in a book”

Now is time for us to change this notion because information is everything and the use of technology is a frontline. Africans and Ghanaians must be seen as knowledgeable; people who spend quality time with books because we are passionate about our advancement.

That is why I am encouraged to see that, as a country, Ghana continues to work at making teaching and learning affordable for its young people. But efforts should certainly go beyond paying school fees, building classroom blocks, providing uniforms and sandals, even giving lunch.

There is a need for genuine commitments from all stakeholders to see students take advantage of these measures being put in place for them. Example, teachers must ensure they are working approved timetables, textbooks and supplementary reading materials they are provided.

Teachers must take refresher courses to help them improve their teaching skills and knowledge in courses. Such endeavours will make initiatives like building classrooms, providing uniforms, shoes and giving lunch meaningful.

What is the use a of beautiful school if students in it are not studious and there is lawlessness, from the head to the least person in the school? If our vision as a country is to produce world-class graduates who can compete all over the globe, we need to more than provide textbooks for our students. We have to encourage them to actually spend time with these books; research and jot down ideas- Isaac Parbey

Schools must have libraries, book clubs and reading periods on their timetables so that students don’t go months without substantial reading. Gone are the days when it was easy to spot students reading at bus stops or in cars. Ironically, we are living in a time when technology has made e-reading accessible and easy.

As individuals, we should cultivate our reading habit by finding books on topics that interest us. And the best part of it is, with e-books and many reading Apps now, it is easy to find whatever you want to read.

Adults must encourage young ones to spend time with books; as parents, teachers, writers, social commentators; we all must enlight our children about the benefits of reading and help them do so. We should let them know that even though it’s great to have movies and music videos on their smart-phones, it’s equally great to have an e-library.

I call on the Ministry of Education and stakeholders who are passionate about seeing Ghana become an iconic reading culture in Africa to rise and support writers and literary endeavors in the country. It is the only way to go and we must start now if we are going to build the innovative and dynamic society we want. Read a book today!