… during the National Reading Year

Education: Students in primary schools read more books than other levels of schooling in the National Reading Year (NRY) in 2015.

About 755 students of Babesa Primary School (PS) in the capital hold the record of reading 48,320 books until June 2015. This is as per the “National Reading Year Report 2015” that was presented at the recent District Education Officers’ conference held in Phuentsholing.

The report shows a compilation of number of books read in five dzongkhags, Thimphu, Haa, Samdrupjongkhar, Trashiyangtse and Tsirang until June 2015.

The report shows that 941 Zilnon PS students read 46,192 books, followed by 19,747 books read by a total of 862 students in Jigme Losel PS.

Students from Rinchen Kuenphen PS and Jigme Namgyel LSS read 11,972 and 10,943 books respectively.

In total, students of 33 schools in Thimphu read about 249,117, which is also the highest compared to other four dzongkhags with relatively fewer schools and students. Teachers from these schools also contributed to reading year by reading about 10,801 books in total.

Deki PS in Thimphu had the lowest reading record with 150 books read by 160 students.

Outside Thimphu, 2,424 students of five schools in Samdrupjongkhar (thromde) read about 22,395 books until June 2015. Dewathang PS has the highest number of books read in the dzongkhag. The 762 students there read 11,013 books.

In Haa, there are 10 schools with 3,465 students. About 21,765 books were read. 220 teachers in these schools also read 832 books in 2015 until June.

In Trashiyangtse, one student read about nine books. About 4,965 students read 44,561 books. The school staff read 1,477 books. In Trashiyangtse LSS, about 650 students read 12,967 books.

In Tsirang, 5,654 students from 19 schools read about 37,900 books with teachers reading another 1,526 books.

The NRY programme was a maiden endeavour towards enhancing reading habits amongst the Bhutanese for personal growth in pursuit of literate, cultural and an enlightened society. It was dedicated to the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

The programme contains suggestive strategies, which schools and communities could implement in creative, innovative and cost effective ways. It was implemented with the vision to empower readership in every Bhutanese in pursuit of personal growth and national progress.

The NRY was launched by His Majesty The King at Tendrel Thang, Tashichhodzong in Thimphu on December 9, 2014.

On the implementation status, the NRY report states that 140 primary English teachers in four regions were trained on teacher read-aloud strategy. These trained teachers further trained 2,500 teachers.

Another 350 primary teachers of Thimphu and Zhemgang were also trained on read-aloud strategy and book management. About 351 bookshelves and 5,000 books were distributed to all the primary schools in the two dzongkhags.

The reading activities are still being actively carried out in schools throughout the country. Every school is instructed to encourage each child to read at least one book a month and compile records of the books the schools have read.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing