Students studying in state-funded schools in Bengal will compulsorily have to read certain number of books every month from next year.
Students studying in classes V and VI will have to read at least one book, those on Classes VII and VIIII must read two books and for students of XI and X, reading minimum three books will be compulsory.
The decision has been taken by the state school education department as a part of a comprehensive policy taken by the state government to develop the overall standard of education imparted to students in state-aided institutions.
With use of technology and gadgets too much around, most children now stay hooked to television sets, play stations and virtual games and students of senior classes to social media. Although some parents, those who still read books, try to encourage their wards to read books, a large section of adults believe that reading is old- fashioned and outdated, do not buy books and not encourage their children to read for pleasure.
As a result most children are not developing the inclination to read for fun. With too much exposure to gadgets and internet, they are also not developing the patience to sit and read.
According to several school teachers, with the advent of online education due to the pandemic when gadgets were easilh accessible, situations have become worse.
According to an official of the education department, most private schools allot at least one period every week for children to read books beyond curriculum. But such an arrangement is lacking in the government schools.
Therefore, in a move to turn students into good readers and make reading an important activity among all school going children, the government has included a string of measures in its policy to enhance the reading skills of children, the official said.
In a directive, the government has instructed the schools to display the names of students who have read maximum number of books in a month in a suitable place or central display board of the school.
The directive says that students will have to be allowed to speak on the books they have read and they will have to be awarded in various ways.
Most schools have libraries but hardly any student utilise them. Schools have been asked to upgrade their libraries and ensure that they have quality books. The school librarians must be kept updated with the quality of books at all levels.
Subrojit Dutta, headmaster of Hindu School, one of the most sought after government-run institutions among parents in Kolkata welcomed the move. “Book reading is one medium that enables students to gather all information they need. It not only helps children to get more information, but also helps them to enlighten their minds, improve their vocabulary and emotional intelligence. Internet and gadgets are also important and I think there is no need to stop children from using them. But we must make them understand about importance of reading and there should be a motivation to attract students towards reading for pleasure. In our school we already encourage students to read books. The government decision will help us to motivate more students to read more books, ” Dutta told EducationWorld.