We’ve all heard about the National Reading Policy, the National Reading Strategy, Reading Law, and we heard about tons of initiatives initiated by almost everyone. But what are the actual initiatives announced and by who? Here is all what you need to know summarized in direct 22 points.
The National Reading Policy was announced yesterday by a panel of UAE Ministers in a press conference held at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The policy includes the 10-year strategy to implement a strong reading culture across the country, with initiatives undertaken on the National level, the Ministerial level (Education, Health and Prevention, Culture and Knowledge Development, Community Development), and on the Media level by the National Media Council.
The National Level Initiatives:
- Initiate a 100 million Dirhams fund, backed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to support all reading activities.
- March will be declared as the UAE’s Month of Reading each year starting from 2017, with October 2016 being the first UAE Month of Reading.
Ministry of Education Initiatives:
- Link the curricula with extracurricular activities that support a culture of reading.
- Shape school libraries into innovative centres that offer an encouraging environment to spread the culture of reading among students.
- An annual reading festival will be initiated – the first of these will be held in October 2016.
- Identify reading ambassadors in each school.
- A special corner will be dedicated to reading in schools as part of a reading club initiative.
- The ‘Aqdar Writing’ initiative has been launched in cooperation with the ‘Aqdar Writing’ program to train 50 writers annually, including students and teachers, who will become authors and contribute to the local literary landscape.
Ministry of Health Initiatives:
- The Knowledge Bag project for newborn children throughout the UAE, which helps parents read to their children in three age groups: after birth, at the age of two when vaccinating, and at the age of four years during nursery.
- The Family Knowledge Awareness project, which focuses on persuading couples starting a family on the value of reading from pregnancy and during visits to the family doctors, through vaccination programs, as well as by educating visitors to primary health centres, and encouraging individuals to use reading as an effective means to enjoy a healthy life with a reduction in psychological pressures and tensions.
- The Reading for Patients project, with volunteers providing relief and mental engagement for long-term patients in hospitals.
National Media Council Initiatives:
- Media outlets to promote content that boosts the culture of reading.
- Assign leading national personalities as reading ambassadors.
- Launch a program that enhances the content and re-evaluates government policies in the publishing industry in the UAE.
- Classify children’s books in Arabic by age and content to make it easier for parents to find appropriate reading material for their young ones.
Ministry of Community Development Initiatives:
- Create a base for reading volunteers from the educational system graduates, housewives and retirees, and even workers who are interested in community service in their spare time in order to carry out a real role in spreading reading for all.
- Coordinate with institutions and companies wishing to promote their CSR to participate in ongoing initiatives for volunteer reading, including reading in incubators and kindergartens to increase linguistic inventory for children, and reading to patients in hospitals to improve their mental state, collective and individual reading for the elderly in neighbourhood councils and centres.
- Focus on people with special needs through the provision of more books in Braille, and the promotion of reading activities for them to improve their skills in social communication, mental health, and reintegration into society.
Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development Initiatives:
- Focus on the development of reading in government workplaces, provide digital content to employees and promote reading and research skills in the workplace.
- Turn public libraries and cultural centres to places of entertainment to attract different age groups across the day through providing a fun and modern atmosphere filled with activities and attractive reading content.
- Promote book cafés through the establishment of branches of public libraries in shopping malls. These would contain a section for children, which includes interesting books, games, and reading corners.
- Launch a “Preparing Young Authors” project where there will be training courses in writing, writing contests and publishing of the best winning books.
Artwork provided by the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Future.
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