Children interest in books reading
Children losing interest in books
Jan 11: As television viewing, electronic games and the Internet have come to hold sway
over children's leisure hours worldwide, parents have been complaining that
children are losing interest in books.
Although reading books has not
traditionally been a popular pastime in Pakistan, given the country's low
literacy rate and poor state of education, publishers have begun to pay more
attention to the needs of young readers.
For the first time in years,
good-quality modestly priced reading material for children is available in
bookshops. But why is this flood of children's literature in English and Urdu
failing to attract new readers? Why aren't more children reaching out for books?
And why are the readers of yesterday not so enthusiastic about the printed word
Reading for pleasure, which introduces young minds to new ideas
and information, must not be allowed to die. In fact, the need to actively
promote reading by children still exists and should be pursued vigorously and
imaginatively at all levels. Whatever strategy is adopted, it is important that
some basic principles be adhered to.
Book promotion should not be a one-time
effort. Encouraging reading should be an ongoing process and a collective effort
by parents, teachers, publishers and education planners. It is a participatory
process and reading out to younger children, especially by parents, can help
them develop the reading habit as they grow older.
It is unrealistic to expect
children to read non-curricular books simply because they have been exhorted to
do so. Similarly, schools should allot space and a reasonable budget to
libraries headed by those who are booklovers and can stimulate the children's
interest in their stocks.
This is no doubt a challenging job at a time
when there are so many distracting factors that take away children from books.
Yet technology such as the Internet and television are no substitute for the
human interaction books can provide if they are used as a means to bring readers
It is ironical that at a time when publishers have responded to the
demand for children's literature and there is a deluge of children's books in
the market, the readers should be disappearing. Dawn
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Students face accommodation problems
Islambad: Bachelors, students facing residential problems
due to acute shortage of accommodation facilities in Islamabad and
Akhtar Khan, living in a single room in Sector G-7/2 said the
main reason for the accommodation shortage was the lack of bachelor hostels and
proper affordable housing schemes in the twin cities.
Khan said he had
been facing residential problem since he arrived in the capital in 2007 after
completing his studies.
"In the past three years, I have changed my
residence many times due to the ill attitude of landlords or lack of basic
facilities," he added.
He said the setting up of more hostels could bring
relief to bachelors who came here from far-flung areas of the country in search
of jobs and education.
Muhammad Salim, an IT employee, said rents of
rooms and houses had surged in the last few years due to the unprecedented
influx of students and job seekers in the twin cities. " I am paying Rs 6,000
for a single unfurnished room and the owner raises rent, 10 percent every year,"
Imran Shah, a student, said due to unavailability of proper
hostel facilities, he had to live in a small room.
"It is quite difficult
for a student to find a reasonable living place at affordable rates," he added.
He said private hostels had been charging Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 for a
single bed accommodation adding that these hostels had no proper cleanliness
system and balance diet. APP
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PRCS launched project for Swat students
Swat: The Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has launched mega educational
programme for 15,000 students of Swat besides setting up a state-of-the-art
Student Educational Resource Centre that will be linked to all the educational
According to a press release, the project aims to convene
educational support to 15,000 children of primary schools and the support will
be provided at five different locations - Kanju, Mingora, Bandai in Swat,
Timergara in Dir and Pir Baba in Buner district.
PRCS Vice Chairperson
Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar launched the project at a ceremony attended by the
students and teachers of the schools that were destroyed by the militants. She
said that the Student Resource Centre would consist of library, computer and
science laboratories and all educational intuitions of the area could benefit
from the centre. She said that the PRCS aims to provide educational facilities
to the students under one roof so that they can equip themselves with the latest
Senator Nilofar said the project implementation strategy
would ensure beneficiaries' participation in all stages of the project cycle and
sense of ownership would be created in the community through participation and
dialogue. "In this hour of crisis, the people have no money to meet the
educational needs of their children and PRCS feels satiated to intervene in much
needed area," she added.
Senator Nilofar held meeting with the students
and teachers of the area who apprised her of their problems. PRCS Secretary
General Muhammad Ilyas Khan said the society distributed seed and fertilisers to
over 300,000 people of the area and further plans to provide agriculture
assistance to 20,000 families.
The ceremony was attended by PRCS NWFP Chairman
Dr Sher Muhammad, Secretary Ali Hasan, Swat Branch Secretary Prof Mohibullah
Jan, notables of the area, students, teachers and volunteers of the PRCS.
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Peshawar: Working with communities and the Education Department, the Sarhad
Rural Support Programme (SRSP) has rebuilt seven government schools in affected
parts of Swat in just 45 days using a combination of wood, corrugated sheets and
The buildings constructed near the rubble of the
destroyed structures are an excellent contrast and a heartening sight. Visit by
this correspondent to the Government Primary School, Totakay in Manglawar Union
Council in Charbagh tehsil and Government Girls Primary School, Speena Khpa in
Kharerai Union Council in Matta tehsil showed three lovely buildings which had a
nice environment, were well ventilated and insulated to protect the children
against heat and cold.
The buildings had also been provided furniture and
children given bags. The schools also had latrines, boundary walls and water
facilities. The children were excited to have a furnished building in a very
SRSP Regional Manager in Swat Zahid Khan said most of the
staff of SRSP had experience of working in the earthquake-affected areas of
Mansehra where SRSP supported the community schools. These had been destroyed in
the October 8, 2005 earthquake.
"We learnt this innovation there. In a
very short time we had children going to schools. In Swat hundreds of schools
were destroyed and the children are going to face difficulties dealing with cold
and rain and the need for innovation was acutely felt there," he
The SRSP regional manager said the response by both the
education department and the communities was exemplary. "The education
department identified schools and provided space where the buildings could be
put up. The communities actively participated in the construction and the fact
that these schools have been put up in such a short time is a manifestation of
this cooperation," Zahid Khan said.
The SRSP regional manager said the
buildings would last many years. He said this would provide the public sector
breathing space to rebuild the destroyed buildings. These buildings, as one of
the community elders pointed out, provided the communities with confidence and
are a morale booster.
Zahid Khan pointed out that the buildings had been
put up with resources generated locally from different individuals and
organisations in Pakistan and no foreign donor had contributed to the process.
He said the SRSP would help build more school buildings once resources become
available. He said the SRSP was planning to provide computers and furniture,
etc, in different localities and also repair the drinking water systems in
Around 400 schools, mostly of girls, were damaged in the
militancy spell and counter-militancy actions in Malakand division of which 175
had been destroyed. As the government announced reopening of the educational
institutions, it provided tents to some of the demolished facilities. Some
managed to run their educational activities at rented or temporarily donated
Tents were not provided to the most schools despite the fact that it
too could never be a better replacement for continuation of studies in the
severe winter in Swat. The news
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Pakistani boy's book
Rawalpindi: A 16-year-old Pakistani boy has gained prominence with the
publication of a collection of his short stories and poems that has been
archived in the main reading room of the National Library of Australia.
Usman Ashraf, who was born and raised in Australia, said on Sunday
that he had developed a passion for writing when he was a child.
started writing short stories and poetry as young as when I was six."
Usman, whose parents hail from Pakistan, had his collection 'Psyche'
published just after he turned 15.
His works vary from themes ranging
from potential love to criminal insanity and trust among a complex myriad of
"Psyche is not a haphazard affair, but the fiction
pieces are interlinked with an emphasis on the human mind, how we think, how we
feel, how we react in different situations and it explores the range and
spectrum of emotions that we all have," Usman said.
The book has been
reviewed by well-known literary companies. Dawn
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Book on Chitral Valley
Peshawar: A book on Chitral that has hit the stalls can be helpful in providing
guidance to those interested in knowing about the scenic valley, its people,
culture and traditions.
Basically a travelogue, the book titled 'Chitral
Chitral Hay' (Chitral is Chitral), depicts the landscape, culture, history,
infrastructure and lifestyle of the people as well as famous and important towns
of the Chitral - the biggest district of the NWFP in terms of area as it makes
up 30 per cent of the total area of the province.
Prof Dr Zahoor Ahmad
Awan, chairman of Gandhara Hindko Board, Dr Inayatullah Faizi of Government
Degree College, Chitral, Salma Awan, principal of Lahore Garrison Grammar
School, Nasir Ali Syed, Shah Hussain Gatvi, Saleem Safi and Haroonur Rehman, son
of the author, have commented on the publication.
In the 200-page
publication, the author late Prof Abdur Rahman has minutely touched the
centauries-old traditions, unique way of life of the people including the
minority Kalash people, scenic and historical places, socio-economic conditions,
health, educational facilities and above all the folk tales and superstitions
related to area.
Born in Chakdara town of Dir Lower district and a
college teacher by profession, Prof Abdur Rahman had emotional attachment with
Chitral and would regularly attend Kalash festivals. A lecturer in chemistry at
the Government Degree College, Timergara, he died on November 25, 2008 before
the publication of the book. His son Haroonur Rehman, however, materialised his
dream of getting the book published. It is based on the wealth of information he
had collected on Chitral.
Divided into 11 chapters, the collection has
rare photographs, vocabulary of Chitrali, Nuristani and Kalash languages,
educational, literary and social and tourist importance, Buddha culture impact
on the area, local culture and traditions, known festivals and historical
Besides other basic information about the valley, the tales about
Kalash seasonal festivals, the oldest traditions like marriages, burials, dance,
foods, and locals' belief in superstition are worth reading and interesting. The
publication priced Rs270 is available in the market and can be of help to those
in search of information about the Chitral Valley, important towns, its people
and their way of life. The news
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