Lack of reading reflects in the Arab world: Mohammed

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Lack of reading reflects in the Arab world: Mohammed

Dubai - Mohammed launches challenge to encourage reading among children.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 17 Sep 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 17 Sep 2015, 10:11 PM

"Reading opens minds, magnifies hunger for knowledge, and instills the values of openness and moderation that define great civilisations." His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday made this simple but profound message to the people across the region while launching the largest Arab initiative to encourage students across the region to make reading a habit.
Launching the 'Arab Reading Challenge', Shaikh Mohammed said: "The Arab world is suffering from a reading crisis whose consequences we see and feel every day in this region. The 50 Million Book Challenge is the first of the many steps we are taking in the hope of creating a long-term impact that would change this reality."

 'Dreams are the start of any achievement'The students of School of Research Science in Dubai got the surprise of their life during the launch of the Arab Reading Challenge on Wednesday.
The students who were attending the 50 Million Book Challenge project launch by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also got an opportunity to witness release of his book for children, Two Heroic Leaders.
Not only did he chose the venue to launch the book but he also read out the book for them. The book tells the story of two visionary leaders the UAE has seen - Shaikh Zayed and Shaikh Rashid - and their dream to build a beautiful country where children live in peace.
Addressing the children, Shaikh Mohammed introduced his book in a simple and interesting way. He also spoke about how hard work and dedication eventually pays off.
He told the children that the 'two heroes' wished that the children will protect the country and pursue their dreams, as dreams are the start of any achievement.
He added: "The first book a child reads opens the first door in that child's brighter future. The goal is to create a new generation, a new hope and a new reality. Today we set this challenge for the Arab educational sector, Arab parents, children and youth. We have every faith in their abilities to achieve the goal." The project aims to encourage students in the Arab world to read, with more than a million students committing to read 50 million extracurricular books during every academic year.
Monetary and motivational incentives worth of Dh11.2 million ($3million) are also offered to participating schools, students, their families, and supervisors from various parts of the Arab world.
The challenge includes several rounds of evaluation and qualification at various levels - school, educational zone, country, and finally the Arab world.
The book challenge contains five stages, each of which entails the reading and summary of 10 books by participating students.
This will be followed by qualification stages at the level of schools, educational districts, Arab countries, and the final qualifications for winners on the Arab world level.
The final contest will be held in Dubai at the end of May 2016.
The winning student will get $150,000 reward of which, $100,000 will be in the form of a university scholarship and $50,000 in the form of a cash reward to the student's family for their encouragement. The school with the highest level of participation in the Arab world will be rewarded $1 million. The challenge also grants rewards worth $300,000 to excellent teachers participating in the projects as supervisors, in addition to prizes worth $1 million to participating schools.
Reports and studies have shown significantly low reading levels in the Arab world. The average reading time for an Arab child is six minutes a year compared with 12,000 minutes in the West, according to the Arab Thought Foundation's Arab Report for Cultural Development.
The reading rate of an Arab individual is a quarter of a page a year compared with 11 books in the US and seven books in the UK, according to a study conducted by the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt. However, the challenge seeks to create a new generation with excellent reading skills and a thirst for knowledge.


Source: Wam

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