Stakeholders discuss strategies for the National Reading Year
To celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Ministry of Education had declared the year 2015 as the national reading year and to maiden this endeavor towards enhancing reading habits amongst the Bhutanese for personal growths in pursuits of a literate, cultured and enlightened society.
During the consultative stakeholder meeting, Ministry of Education discussed their vision, mission, objectives and strategies. Moreover, the Ministry also deliberated on the implementation and way forward to make national reading year very vibrant and successful by involving all the stakeholders.
According to the national reading programme, the vision that every Bhutanese should be an empowered reader in pursuit of personal growth and national progress.
While the mission of the national reading year is that every Bhutanese understands the importance of reading and cultivates the habits; to develop reading strategies and skills among the Bhutanese population; facilitate availability of appropriate and adequate reading materials in Bhutan and to enhance academic learning and creativity in the students.
The objectives of the national reading year which states that in the national reading program, the schools develop and implement specific measurable attainable relevant timebound (SMART) reading plans; train teachers and strengthen their language competencies; enhance the skills of school librarians; involve parents and community participation; instill a spirit of volunteerism amongst
the general public and create a buzz on reading through media.
During the State of the Nation Report to the Parliament on 19th June, 2014, the Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay highlighted various educational initiatives to be pursued, one of which is “developing a national reading strategy so that we can inculcate a healthy reading habit.” Lyonchhen declared 2015 as the national reading year to celebrate the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo. Subsequently, Lyonchhen instructed the department of Curriculum Research and Development (DCRD) under the Ministry of Education to frame a National Reading Program.
The National Reading Programme further states that it was recommended all schools to design a SMART plan that is creative, innovative, appropriate, cost effective and relevant to the schools’ situation. While it also states that the plans should be implemented rigorously and reviewed to assess the success of the programme. But while planning, implementation and monitoring are left to the schools, an annual report must be shared with the Department. It hoped that a vibrant reading culture in the schools will result in the overall improvement in the students’ performance.
A few reading sample strategies for schools which included in the national reading programs are regular schedule for reading; DEAR (drop everything and read); ERIC (everybody read in class); guest readers and reading competition.
Meanwhile, to enhance reading skills of the slow readers, inculcate good reading habits and promote a spirit of volunteerism, students in class nine and above in all schools are required to take up socially productive work (SUPW) for which they are graded. Besides that, students taking temporary jobs and volunteer works undertaken during their summer and winter vacation will be credited to their SUPW grade, while concern schools also must ensure that volunteering to read for a few hours to their junior students and should be encouraged by the school, according to the national reading programme.