Atukwei Okai launches books on verses and chants for children

Atukwei Okai

Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Minister of Education on Thursday observed that reading was key to literacy acquisition, development of imaginative skills and understanding of knowledge.

“We need therefore to support key interventions that will promote early reading and literacy like the National Literacy Acceleration Programme in the teaching and learning material production for kindergarten and lower primary,” she added.

Mrs Mould Iddrisu made the observation at the launch of three books on the verses and chants for children by Professor Atukwei Okai in Accra.

The books are “A Slim Queen in a Palanquin” 44 pages, “The Anthill in the Seas”, 36 pages and “A Pawpaw on a mango tree”, 46 pages.

The books are a collection of verses and chants for children that come with music, fantasy, beauty and joy to broaden the knowledge of children.

Mrs Mould Iddrisu said the literacy programme was aimed at revamping the literacy levels of children at the early stages of their primary education.

“The Ministry of Education’s policy which allows school children to send their textbooks home on daily basis coupled with the development of the school libraries were meant at encouraging early reading habits in children”.

The Minister explained that if students were not sufficiently fluent in their reading or were not introduced to the love for books and reading early, they would not have sufficient comprehension in the other subjects.

She noted that culture and education were also inextricably rooted in the national goal, aspirations and therefore their development in many ways was linked to the socio-economic development of countries.

Mrs Mould Iddrisu, said over the year’s governments had worked closely with all stakeholders in the publishing industry to develop a Textbook Development and Distribution Policy and this has helped to promote and enhance competition amongst publishers.

“The importance of this cannot be overemphasised as the objective is to help local publishers to have the resources to publish other culturally enriching books like Ghanaian poetry and fiction for both the local and international markets,” she added.

She expressed gratitude to Prof Atukwei for thinking about the children of Ghana by giving the future generation a legacy based on cultural values.

Mr Yaw Buadu-Ayeboafo, General Manager of Graphic Communication Group, in a review of the books said the author has “set at ease the minds of the children to move away from those objects and symbols that they can never see or appreciate and replace them with those thing that are so close but which despised, probably considered unenlightened, but which define our being and self-esteem”.

He said the books do not merely introduce children to poetry, but focused on concepts and symbols that they were familiar with, adding that it excites their creativity and make them feel at ease in their own compositions.

“It is thus very invigorating that as the children read, recite and sing through the poems, they are helped to develop their vocabulary, expand their knowledge base and educate themselves as they are entertained,” he noted.

Prof Atukwei Okai, said the reason beyond the books were that the content of most of the children’s books on the market in the late 70’s did not reflect the peculiarities and complexities of the African world.

In addition, “neither did they reflect the beauties, aspirations and dilemmas of our native environment”.

“We must teach our people to think; because we have it all, all it takes for us to emancipate our soul and our psyche. All that of course is dependent on education, the correct type of education,” he added.

Prof Atukwei Okai noted that it was through the artist that the universe expresses its ever-evolving, steadily unfolding newness and uniqueness.

“The collection of verses and chants for children in these books come at long last to fill the long starved world of our children with music and fantasy, beauty and joy,” the professor said.

Other books by the author include Flowerfall (Poems), the oath of Fontomfrom and other Poems, Mandela the spear and other Poems, Lorgorligi Logarithms and other Poems and Freedom Symphony: Selected and New Love Poems.

Source: GNA

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