President encourages kids to read books with a moral
THE president has called for children to be given books illustrating the dangers of drug use.
Speaking at a children’s books exhibition and fair in the capital over the weekend, President U Htin Kyaw said children should be encouraged to read, especially books with a moral message that steer them away from narcotics.
“I have told publishers to support children’s literacy as much as they can … including by donating books to school libraries – four or five books per month. Parents also need to encourage their children to read books,” the president said at the November 5 event in Nay Pyi Taw.
“Especially I want to see literature provided to children which can spread awareness about the dangers of drugs. Parents should focus on it. Drug usage is a dangerous problem for the country,” he said.
The number of drug users in Myanmar is unknown as surveys and estimates on the population are outdated. But civil servants have expressed concern that the proliferation of drugs, especially methamphetamines, is on the rise among youth in the country.
Quantities of methamphetamines seized in East and Southeast Asia almost quadrupled between 2009 and 2014, and according to the UNODC the number of males estimated to be injecting drugs is approximately 83,000.
The UN drugs agency announced earlier this year that it would work with the government to conduct a first-ever survey on drug use in the country.
Union Minister for Information U Pe Myint, who also attended the book fair, said the festival aims to boost child literacy through illustrations, presentations, games and expos.
“I hope children gain an unforgettable appreciation for knowledge when they look around this festival,” he said.
According to the 2014 census, the rate of literacy among the over15 population is 89.5 percent. Of the over-five population of 45,807,770, 6,468,807 were unable to access education.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe
President U Htin Kyaw talks to media at the children’s book fair.