Pres­i­dent en­cour­ages kids to read books with a moral

The Myanmar Times - - News - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­times.com

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

Photo: Swan Ye Htut

Pres­i­dent U Htin Kyaw talks to me­dia at the chil­dren’s book fair.

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