The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will mark the 5th National Reading day on March 11 by continuing to promote the expansion of reading under the theme “Reading, intellectual training, research and innovation”.

The 10-day-long events will take place from March 6 to 15 and are expected to see the continued successes of increasing the book reading habit in the Kingdom.

At a press conference on Monday, Minister Hang Chuon Naron said: “What is different from last year’s celebration is that the ministry wants to demonstrate the role of research in reading.

“We need to let citizens and students know that reading is not just about reading stories, but you can use reading to research and learn about other things, such as technology. In this era of technology, this is so important.”

He also said he wanted to focus on the Kingdom’s heritage. “Last year, we promoted Khmer literature. This year, we also want to promote the study of inscriptions.

“We have over 1,000 temples throughout the country, built hundreds of years ago, but the inscriptions in these temples are not known to many. So by promoting this theme, we can find out about different aspects and images of Khmer culture,” he said.

Chuon Naron noted that this year, the ministry will organise two seminars, the first of which is to take place before the Day of Reading. This event will be named the “First Reading” and will serve to train and promote early childhood reading habits.

He said the second workshop will take place after the end of the Day of Reading to promote library and dissemination of library standards to managers and school principals across the country.

This is aimed at ensuring libraries are doing their most to provide for the reading needs of their pupils.

“We continue to encourage youth to volunteer to organise events that involve attracting young people to reading.

“This year, we have a Day of Reading programme in 10 provinces and will celebrate it for 10 days from March 6 to 15,” Naron said.

Room to Read Cambodia literacy directory Hor Sokhak said in recent years, through collaboration with the Ministry of Education on reading in schools, the momentum of students having the reading habit has increased.

Students also increasingly borrow books from the library for home reading. Hence, he has asked the ministry to provide additional funding to buy more books for libraries.

“Even though we have seen the results, we have not yet reached what we are aiming for. The resources invested in schools to buy books are still limited.

“Another problem is the lack of textbook sources, even though a school may have a budget to buy books, they sometimes do not know where to buy the correct books that will fit in with the school curriculum,” he said.