Despite the inclement weather, secondary school students from Regions 3 and 4 where they were exposed to a plethora of books on display at the annual Literary Street Fair held in observance of Mashramani.
This Fair aims to provide a central location for the showcasing of books and other materials in an exhibition format. It also provides an opportunity to bring citizens and books together, while at the same time encourages wider access to books with the aim of enhancing literacy in Guyana.
"Books are cultural tools for development and a reading nation is indeed a winning nation. It is, therefore, imperative that we preserve the reading practice and make it active," stated Minister within the Ministry of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry.
The Minister noted that 'reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.' Similarly, reading helps to develop one’s mind; it helps to make one alert; it helps to make one knowledgeable, and as the saying goes, 'Knowledge is power' the Minister explained.
"I call upon our authors, publishers, partners and stakeholders to do their best to promote children literature. The Ministry of Education will continue to play its role. No human society can develop in all its dimensions if it does not produce literature for children and young readers. The Ministry is particularly supportive of any effort of our writers at creating the awareness for quality book production," Minister Henry stated.
The Minister also appealed to parents and teachers to inculcate in children the habit of reading at a young age. "Implanting the habit of reading in children will ensure that it becomes a skill that will put them in good stead throughout their lives," Minister Henry highlighted.
"One of the most important aspects of this exhibition is the opportunity it gives to the public and book lovers to explore the content and background of books on display, some perhaps for the first time," Minister Henry posited.
The Minister recognised that Guyana has been known for its outstanding writers, and "we want to share all of their work and much more on Guyana so that our own citizens can benefit from all the reading material that we have to offer."
The Minister implored that "today’s activity is part of the Ministry of Education Department of Culture, Youth and Sport’s agenda to promote literacy, and to make the public aware of what is available to help develop the literacy skills of our children and the public at large."
Ms Gwenette George, one of the coordinators of the event, in her remarks highlighted the organisations that have been supporting the fair from the very start. These include the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD), the National Library, the University of Guyana library, the Varga Foundation, Oral Tradition by Petamber Persaud, the Guyana Heritage Society, Guyana Entertainment Magazine (GEM), the Ministry of Education agencies National Archives and the National Trust, the Guyana Institute of Historical Research, the Book Foundation, Reading and Research Centre, Austin's Book Store, the parliament's documentation centre, the Caricom's documentation centre, the Arts Journal, NCN and the Government Information Agency (GINA).