The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA) has urged publishers, writers and illustrators to submit their products to the council for assessment and approval before putting them on the market to ensure that people, including children, read only quality and wholesome books.
"Publishers have the power to affect the mind and behaviours of children through books that go beyond developing cognitive skills to developing 21st Century skills and competencies," the Director-General of NaCCA, Prof. Edward Appiah, said in an address read on his behalf at the 46th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Publishers Association (GPA) in Accra yesterday.
Prof. Appiah expressed concern about the activities of some unscrupulous publishers in recent times and charged the GPA “to extend invitation to the numerous non-member publishers to help regulate their activities to ensure good standard becomes the hallmark of all”.
He said in line with that, the council had embarked on some initiatives to streamline the assessment and approval of textbooks and supplementary materials in the country.
It includes the creation of an online instructional resources submission and assessment platform by NaCCA to allow publishers to submit their materials for assessment and approval with ease.
Other measures are the development of a Legislative Instrument and training of book assessors and publishers in Accra and Kumasi with support from the British Council and other stakeholders.
The Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director of Roverman Productions, Ebo Whyte, said the nature of publishing had changed in an era of digital advancement and "we have no choice but to catch up".
According to him, audio books were now the trend; therefore, he urged members to venture into the digitisation of their materials to make it easy for users of social media platforms to access.
"Mr President, I am dreaming of a mini Amazon for the Ghana Book Publishers Association, where people can just visit and shop, run by the association on behalf of members right here in the country," he added.
The acting Copyright Administrator, Ghana, Yaa Attafua, said the print and publishing industry constituted one of the largest sectors in many countries because it covered a wide range of products and services available in text page contents in both analogue and digital formats.
Over the years (2013 to 2016), she said: “The press and literature category made the largest contribution to the core copyright industry groups”.
"There was an increase in performance between 71 per cent and 83 per cent over the period of the study,” the administrator added.
The President of the GPA, Asare Konadu Yamoah, said the association must be seen as an indispensable partner in the development and promotion of education initiatives.
He said the plight of publishers had worsened over the years due to the lack of long-term planning as a result of an inconsistent school calendar, curriculum change and procurement regime at the Ministry of Education.
"No business can have meaningful progress without planning and a timetable would offer us a reliable basis for investment”, Mr Yamoah said, adding that due to those challenges, the book industry had become unattractive to investors.