Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga
Member of Parliament (MP) for Garu Constituency in the Upper East Region, Hon Albert Akuka Alalzuuga, has called on government to speed up policies to establish public libraries in deprived Districts, especially in the Garu-Tempani District to improve education quality and as well boost jobs opportunity for young people.
According to him, the District which has a number of public schools could not boost of a single library as students of both senior and junior schools, teachers and workers of different fields of profession have had to travel over 24 km to Bawku to access library for academic research work.
Education, he said is very essential part of development and that students could not perform well if they are unable to access library, adding, Library is crucial for research development of every country.
Mr Alalzuuga, who is a former District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area between 2013 to 2016, made the call after he posed a question to the Minister for Education on the floor of parliament in Accra last Thursday.
“Mr Speaker, I rise to ask the Minister for Education whether the Ministry has plans to establish a library in the GARU-Tempani District since there is no library facility in the District.?” he stated.
In response, a Deputy Minister for Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, on behalf of the substantive Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempreh said, the Ghana Library Authority(GhLA) has plans to establish more public libraries in deprived communities in all the 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies(MMDAs) including Garu-Tempani District when funds are available.
According to him, public libraries are social intervention services, which promote the quality of life of the most vulnerable.
He added that, since the establishment of the Ghana Library Authority in the 1950, it has been able to provide only 60 libraries across the country in addition to the George Padmore Research Library on Africa Affairs.
The Deputy Minister noted that government is committed to assist the GhLA to put up libraries in communities to help children increase their reading skills and improve education standard.
But Hon Alalzuuga expressed dissatisfaction over the Minister answers to his question on grounds that, the District has not got a library after 14 years of existence.
He said, he expected the Minister to assure when Garu-Tempani District would get a library facility , adding that, President Akufo Addo at Ghana at 60 anniversary celebration announced that government was going to build libraries across the country.
He raised doubt on the government commitment for the support of the establishment f libraries as both the 2017/2018 budgets did not made any provision for libraries projects.
The Garu lawmaker said, as grassroots man, education development of children in his constituency remained his priority and that the only way to empower the youth for their future is to provide libraries and others to improve their educational needs.
He told THE REPUBLIC that, as part of effort to boost education in the constituency, he had engaged some tertiary students to provide extra classes free of charge to basic schools students within the constituency.
In addition to that, he said he has procured about 400 dual desks for pupil in some deprived communities schools as pupil sits on the floor to learn, stating that, “Investing in his people is an essential part of his strategy to reduce poverty and achieve steady economic development.”
Youth make up over half of Garu’s population, yet over 38 percent of them are either underemployed or unemployed and their education and skills levels are low.
This, Hon Alalzuuga said, improving quality education in the constituency would help young people to acquire skills and the opportunity to earn a decent living, nothing, “some will work for wages and salaries, while others will be able to start their own businesses and hire others.”
He reiterated that, “If the government is really serious about improving education standard, they need to provide library facilities, stock with books and other materials in public libraries because that is the only place the underprivileged persons get access to free books to study.”
The MP added that a well equipped library would also encourage reading culture, especially among teenagers, stating, “When a library is fully equipped with materials to carter for needs of students, the zeal to read will increase especially for teenagers.’’
Mr Alazuuga also stressed the need for parents to encourage their children to cultivate reading habits so they could perform well in their schools.
He also encouraged members of the public and NGOs to also support the government by donating books and other materials to schools.
“We shouldn’t leave everything for the government alone. We can also support by donating books to schools,’’ he said.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba