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Ministry set to organise national reading day contest

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A woman is reading a book in National Library in Phnom Penh's Daun Penh district last year. Hean Rangsey

Ministry set to organise national reading day contest

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has advised its municipal and provincial education departments across the country to organise sub-national level competitions in the lead-up to the national reading contest.

The contestants should be registered with the ministry by February 22 in order for it to select the national winner who will receive Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Award on the 7th National Reading Day this year.

According to a letter signed by minister Hang Chuon Naron on January 31, the ministry will oversee a competition to read, recite poems and compose original written works in order to select a national winner for the award.

The 7th National Reading Day this year will have the theme of “Reading Helps Improve the Quality of Life in a Digital Society”.

Chuon Naron instructed the departments to organise the competitions by selecting a first-place winner of three subjects by recording videos and reading and reciting poems and original works by the winners and send them to the ministry by February 22.

These three test subjects must include the composition of poetry for high school students, poetry recitation for elementary school students (grades 4-6) and prose reading for primary school students.

The national competition will be held March 9-10.

Hor Sokhak, literacy director of the NGO Room to Read Cambodia, said that as Covid-19 came to Cambodia, the field of reading became increasingly important for all Cambodians, especially parents and guardians. During the school suspensions, there were few home teachers and most students could only rely on self-learning through reading.

He said that Room to Read produced books for parents to teach their children at home, and they have set up a Telegram channel with parents in the target provinces where they were active that included more than 260 schools.

They increased reading activities for children at home by sending them video lessons and through daily readings. Tens of thousands of parents and guardians of students took part in these activities.

“Every year, the National Reading Day is organised by the education ministry to encourage students and children to study, read and summarise their own lessons, which is part of the promotion of reading,” Sokhak said.

He added that on this year’s Reading Day, the ministry allowed him to be one of the honorary speakers to give a presentation to all schools to see how to have reading activities and have reading habits in school.

“What the ministry wants me to show on the upcoming March 11 Reading Day is the big indicators that schools, classrooms or libraries are supporting reading skills,” Sokhak said.

Last year, the 6th National Reading Day was organised by the ministry virtually under the theme “Reading in the context of Covid-19”.

About 300 people participated in the events via video conference. Last year’s National Reading Day was organised with various topics from March 12-14 and was called Book Week.

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