Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of the Cabinet Affairs, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Arab Reading Challenge (ARC), has said that Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has directed the two local and Arab tracks for the ARC to encourage students in public and private schools to take part in the programme.
Al Gergawi was speaking yesterday during the first meeting of the ARC committee held at the General Secretariat of the Cabinet.
Last week Sheikh Mohammed launched the ARC initiative to encourage students in the UAE and Arab world to read. It aims to encourage a million students in the Arab world to read 50 million books. This sustainable and regular reading among students will be achieved through an integrated system for supervising students throughout the academic year.
The ARC will provide cash prizes and incentives to the students, families and supervisors who participate. The total value of the incentives will be $3 million (approximately Dh11 million). The best performing schools and supervisors will be honoured.
Al Gergawi said the ARC project is not only intended to encourage reading, but it is also a sustainable programme that will continue year-long alongside the Arab academic year and will be crowned with an Arab Olympics. He noted that the committee has started to print 5 million notebooks to distribute them to students across the Arab world in order to assist them summarise 50 million books.
"Strengthening of the cultural and cognitive openness starts from childhood and the first book grasped by a student. The reading challenge project of 50 million books is the beginning of this change, and we have a strong partnership with all the media to reach the largest segment of students. We expect the project will impact the Arab awareness regarding the importance of reading as a tool for cultural progress," he said.
The implementation phases have been commenced through co-ordination with participant schools across the Arab world. The programme will begin from October and ends in March, 2016. A winner will be rewarded $150, 000, of which $100, 000 will be allocated for university scholarship and the rest for the family.
The meeting was attended by Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council; Abdul Rahman Al Hammadi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry for Quality and Support Services and other senior officials.