IT is not feasible to promote the reading culture if books are not readily available.
The remarks were made yesterday, by the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Olivier Rwamukwaya, during the launch of ‘Andika Rwanda 2015’.
‘Andika Rwanda’ is a national competition for writing stories and poems, which is part of the campaign to promote the culture of reading and writing among the youth.
Rwamukwaya emphasised that the ministry sees the need to produce more local content as a priority and is trying to unlock the story-writing talents in primary and secondary schools.
“As these efforts become more widespread, there will be a significant increase in the number and quality of reading materials and opportunities for Rwandans in urban and rural areas to access them,” Rwamukwaya said.
Calling on stakeholders to mobilise the most isolated communities to set up and manage their own libraries, the minister lauded efforts of development partners and ‘Andika Rwanda’ for promoting creativity among Rwandans.
“I know how much time and efforts are put in organising and planning such writing competitions and I thank development partners and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) for spearheading this initiative,” Rwamukwaya added.
Janvier Ismael Gasana, the director general of REB, added, that much as people are picking interest in reading, there are not enough publications made basing on the Rwandan context.
He called on publishers to bring teachers and parents on board in efforts to promote literacy based on Rwandan culture and norms.
“If we produce the books ourselves, the cost of publishing would be much lower hence ensuring sustainability of the reading culture which we are promoting,” Gasana.
Arthur Barigye, a representative of book sellers and publishers, commended efforts by the ministry. Local publishers are now working tirelessly to feed the market with relevant content, he said.
“Writing is not easy, it is tasking and requires not only experience but also a lot of finance, that is why publications in the country are very few but we are looking forward to change the situation,” Barigye said.
He added that, despite the challenges, more than 10 publishing houses are already active in Rwanda.