Updates on support to 19th Book Week Festival
Hivos the Dutch organization for development has extended a grant of US$ 10,000 to NABOTU through the East African Book Development Association (EABDA). The grant is to support various children’s activities during the 19th National Book Week Festival due 10-15thOctober 2011 being organized under the theme, “Books bridge gaps.”
Children International Uganda has thrown its weight behind the City Children’s Reading Tent by providing a grant of 6 million UGX. Children International Uganda is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to bettering the lives of impoverished children, their families and communities. CI Uganda has greatly assisted several schools across Uganda to access learning materials through their book donation program.
The Authors Forum an inspirational event organized by World of Inspiration, every first Wednesday of the month, 5-8pm at National Theater. The Authors Forum has offered promotional opportunities for the book week on its partner radio and TV stations.
National Book Forum to focus on declining reading standards
Declining standards of literacy in primary schools will be the focus of discussion at this year’s National Book Forum. A public debate will be held on the theme, “Is the decline in literacy a gross failure by Ministry of Education and Sports to support reading?’’ The Ministry of Education and Sports has been invited to present their side of the story. Members of civil society organizations are set to take on the Ministry raising important issues that require government action to change the trend.
The failure by the Government of Uganda to procure readers for schools has been one of the underlying causes of poor reading standards in schools. It has also had dire consequences on the book industry. Several bookshops upcountry have run out of business. Publishing companies on the other hand have expressed frustration with the non-procurement of readers for the last four years. They are still holding hundreds of titles of readers in their warehouses and yet some of them took out loans to print and ship the books.
There is an ensuing debate with some pundits in the book industry claiming the non-procurement of readers by government is a self inflicted wound. A source within the Uganda Booksellers Association has told this bulletin that overzealous publishers were responsible for dismantling the effective DIMP (Decentralised Instruction Materials Procurement) program under which government was procuring readers. The source noted that although DIMP was scrapped, government continues to remit funds to schools a percentage of which was used to buy readers.
The agitation by publishers to scrap DIMP was because of non-payment and in some cases delayed payments by booksellers who in turn blamed government for delayed releases to districts.
Discussion question: Who should really take the blame for the declining standards of reading in our primary schools?
Information on Public Debate call Robert 0701669021
Literary Expedition Goes North
Gulu in northern Uganda was home to the legendary poet Okot p’Bitek who penned Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol. The two works catapulted Uganda into the international literary lime light yet to be surpassed by contemporary Ugandan writings. The era of great literary writings unfortunately faded following the dictatorship of President Idi Amin which earned Uganda the unenviable description of a literary desert.
During the 19th National Book Week Festival, the National Library of Uganda in a bid to rediscover the roots of great literary writings is taking the Literary Expedition to Gulu. Publishers, Authors and interested persons can get more information from Stella 0772443281
Discussion Question: Which is the greatest Ugandan literary writing and how did it change Uganda’s literary scene?
Writers to take to the Podium
Writers have the podium as their page. They speak straight to hundreds, thousands and millions of souls from this podium. This book week, FEMRITE- the Women Writers Association is performing the miracle of merging the podium to the stage, and filling Garden City roof top with hundreds of literary experts, lovers of writing and young people keen for words.
Have you been to the podium before to speak about your writing? You are welcome to do so. Write to email@example.com
Innovations in Publishing
NABOTU and the University of Cape Town recently signed an agreement to undertake a case study on the feasibility of establishing a free to publish web platform for CC licensed materials across East Africa. The case study is part of the Open Africa Innovation Research (Open AIR) on Intellectual Property’s Role in Open Development. IDRC and GIZ have invested more than 20 million South African Rand in the Pan-African Open AIR project.
Professor Robert Ikoja-Odongo the current Principal of the College of Computing and Information Science, Makerere University will be the lead researcher on the Ugandan case study. You can get more information from firstname.lastname@example.org