Dr Osei Adutwum, Minister of Education, says books are crucial for the socio-economic development of the country.
He said books held the key to reading and literacy and that good books enhanced the appreciation of one’s literary environment while poor books lowered one’s sight in literary world.
This was said on behalf of the Minister at the celebration of the World Book and Copyright Day on the theme, “Solidifying the Book Industry and Reading for National Development.”
Mr Benjamin Kwasi Gyasi, Chief Director, Ministry of Education, reading the speech on behalf of the sector Minister, said reading was usually challenged when the book industry was not solidified.
He said, “Any developed country is characterised with literacy.
One of the contributing factors of taking education in Ghana to greater heights was helping to build a robust book industry and a well-structured reading system where students at all levels would not only read textbooks but have supplementary readers to enhance their functional literacy.”
Dr Adutwum urged all stakeholders to work with his ministry to support the Ghana Book Industry Agency bill through engagements for its enactment by Parliament.
He added that the bill once passed, would provide a more definite mandate to the agency to operate as a full-fledged agency in the book industry.
Dr Adutwum stated that stakeholders should assist his outfit in developing a national book and reading policy to regulate the development, assessment, production and distribution of book in Ghana, adding that, the Ghana Book Development Council (GBDC) was in the process of initiating such discussions.
Dr Adutwum said the ministry through GBDC intended to engage stakeholders to discuss comprehensively how to strengthen the book industry, develop book policies and formulate sustainable reading system and culture.
Mr Hayford Siaw, Executive Director, Ghana Library Authority, said the Authority recognising the critical role books played in Ghana’s education, had successfully increased its book stock to 1, 78,691 in the past three years.
He said the authority digital library app had a total of 20, 897 digital books comprising 4, 023 e-books 15, 889 audiobooks 975 videos which had provided an opportunity to empower reading among Ghanaians.
Mr Siaw said most of the public libraries had been connected to the internet to aid research which led to the increase in library visit from 393,430 in 2016 to 1, 740, 275 by the end of 2019.
He said this showed that when the right measures were put in place, students would gradually inculcate the habit of reading for their advancement.
Madam Yaa Attafuah, Copyright Administrator of the Ghana Copyright Office, said the digital revolution had greatly affected the production and distribution of copyright works both positively and negatively.
She said the Copyright Act, 2005 (Act 690) contained provisions on measures which copyright owners could take advantage of to protect their works in the digital space, adding that the Copyright Office was also collaborating with the Cybercrime Unit of the Ghana Police Service for assistance in dealing with online infringements.
Madam Attafuah said copyright education and awareness were a very key element in strengthening copyright protection as education cut across the whole spectrum of society- from policymakers to rights holders to users, to enforcement agencies and the general public, adults, the youth and even children.
“Appreciating the value of copyright goes a long way in strengthening copyright protection, “she said.