LAHORE: Participants in a policy dialogue recommended establishing modern, child-friendly libraries in every public and private schools for the revival of the culture of reading among children to alleviate the learning poverty among Pakistani children.

The participants were speaking at a policy dialogue titled “Child-Friendly Libraries in Schools for promoting Reading and Literacy” by NGOs with the Punjab School Education Department (SED) and Children Library Complex under the Pakistan Literacy Project (PLP) on Tuesday.

SED Special Secretary Zaheer Hasan said, “Libraries have been lost in this digital age, but the modern libraries established under the PLP will go a long way in inculcating the spirit of learning among children. We hope that the project is scaled up across other districts of the country.”

A panel discussion on child-friendly libraries was chaired by MPA Aisha Nawaz Chaudhry. She appreciated efforts to provide modern libraries.

Reaffirming her support for Libraries for Learning, she promised to request SED for a pre-budgetary allocation for libraries.

Senior Literacy Specialist David Strawbridge joined the discussion on Zoom and said, “We need teachers, government officials and caretakers to come together to develop the love of books and a love of reading among children.”

Also, Unicef extended support for libraries as 60 to 70 per cent of children of 10 years in Pakistan are in learning poverty.

Participants recommended that such modern, child-friendly libraries be established in every public and private school to revive the culture of reading among children.

The PLP has established 24 libraries in government primary schools and in primary sections of elementary/secondary schools.

There are 12 libraries each in Lahore and Bahawalpur districts. Each library contains 2,400 books with 28 Room-to-Read books adapted/translated into Urdu.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2022

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