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Education Strategic Plan anchored on making Ghana a “learning nation’ – Veep

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia says the ability of Ghanaian children to read and write by the age of 10 is the surest way to close Ghana’s current learning and poverty gap.

Therefore, the government’s vision was to see every district in the country benefit from a befitting public library infrastructure to achieve that goal.

Dr Bawumia said this when he commissioned a national children and mobile library facility, in Accra on Wednesday.
The project was funded by the Board and Management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in collaboration with the Ghana Library Authority.

The Vice President urged other corporate entities to emulate the example of SSNIT to do more for Ghanaian children.
For Ghana to sustain growth in its economic performance, he said, it was imperative to build a literate society and, thus, called for close partnerships with relevant institutions to advance a culture of life-long learning in the country.

“Building a culture of reading among citizens requires deliberate efforts on the part of parents and the State.
“Children in their formative years require consistent exposure to books to build and sustain interest in reading and also for knowledge,” the Vice President stated.

He said it was based on that premise the 2018-2030 Education Strategic Plan was anchored on making Ghana a “learning nation”.

“Ghana cannot be a learning nation if it does not prioritise access to knowledge resources through the public library system,” he added.

He said since 2017, the government’s investment in the Ghana Library Authority had been visible all over the country.
The government, he said, had increased the number of books on the shelves of public libraries from 393,430 in 2016 to 1,281,839 as at the end of 2022, a 325 percent increase in six years.

The Vice President acknowledged the dynamism of the leadership of the Ghana Library Authority led by its Chief Executive, Mr Hayford Siaw, for collaborating with international and local partners to drive growth in library facilities across the country.

The number of public libraries has increased from 61 in 2016 to 115 within six years.
Dr Bawumia said the collaboration of the Authority with members of Parliament, District Assemblies, and development partners to expand the public library network in Ghana was inspiring.

“The ability of children to read and write by the age of ten is the surest way to close Ghana’s current learning poverty gap.

“We face a learning and human capital catastrophe without urgent action to reduce learning poverty.
“It is, therefore, exciting to witness the efforts of the Ghana Library Authority in revamping public libraries in the country and working to address the systemic challenges confronting the State in achieving those goals,” the Vice President said.

The government, through GETFUND, had provided 20 new pickup vehicles for the Authority’s operations, including revamping its mobile library services by fixing its vans to be motorable, he said.

“The government has also increased the personnel of the Library Authority to 532 and helped increase the number of public libraries from 61 in 2017 to 115 at the end of 2022,”he added.

“We have provided internet connections to 29 public libraries and some 688 computers to support computer literacy initiatives at 67 public libraries across the country”.

He said the Government had also invested in developing and rolling out the Digital Library App, currently managed by the Authority.

The App allows every Ghanaian to have access to eBooks, videos, and audio resources.
It helped renovate 48 out of the 61 libraries inherited in 2017, thereby creating a conducive environment for learners.

“All the above investments demonstrate our commitment to improving literacy levels in the country and creating an enabling environment for every learner to thrive,” the Vice President stated.

Mr Hayford Siaw, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Library Authority, in his welcome remarks, said the number of public libraries increased from 61 in 2017 to 115 within six years and the new library facility was the 54th facility.

The ultra-modern library facility, a two-storey building, contained 22,000 books, an Information technology centre, conference centre, cafeteria, parents waiting room, children’s playground, and with high-speed internet and WiFi connectivity.

Mr Siaw expressed his gratitude to the Board and Management of SSNIT and pensioners for funding the project.

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