Karachi, September 13, 2012 (PPI-OT): The second Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) was held in Quetta at the Balochistan Boy Scouts Association premises, on 13 September 2012. The festival, which brought together scores of students, teachers, parents, authors, educators, academics, and literary figures, featured a stellar programme which included talks and readings by well-known children’s writers, creative writing workshops and competitions, poetry readings, seminars on promoting reading and inclusive learning, mural painting, children’s theatre and films, puppet shows by Ritz Entertainment, digital storytelling sessions, and a book fair. Sessions on national and regional languages were also organized to popularize mother tongue-learning in Pakistan.
The CLF was jointly organised by Oxford University Press and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, with further support from Foundation Open Society Institute, Balochistan Boy Scouts Association, Government of Balochistan, and Female Education Trust.
The CLF was inaugurated on 12 September 2012 by the chief guest, Shahnawaz Marree, Minister for Culture and Sports, Balochistan, who underscored the need for organizing such festivals and activities that encouraged children to read. Munir Ahmed Badini, Secretary Education, Balochistan, was highly appreciative of the efforts put in by the organisers and wished them luck for the future Festivals.
He further emphasised the support of the Balochistan Government towards such initiatives. Zobaida Jalal, Member, National Assembly, and Founder, Female Education Trust; Baela Raza Jamil, Director Programs, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi; and Nargis Sultana, Programme Officer Education, Foundation Open Society Institute, also spoke on the occasion. Highlighting the importance of books and reading, Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, said, “I strongly feel that investment in children is the best investment we can make because children are our future and our best hope.
I believe that one of the ways to overcome the present difficulties and challenges in education is to inspire children to read and make books available to them. At OUP we have several schemes for this, and the Children’s Literature Festival is one of them.”
The festival featured several talks and discussions on various issues like critical thinking among children, the use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction, and promoting tolerance and compassion in schools. For educators, the programme was designed to lead to a better understanding of using books for triggering children’s imaginations. Teacher training sessions were held to educate teachers about making libraries come alive in schools, creative teaching methods, and storytelling—enabling both students and teachers to benefit and learn from this festival.
A presentation on ‘Making a Book’, led by the eminent poet, Fahmida Riaz, and Ameena Saiyid, focused on how a book is conceived, written, edited, illustrated, and published. A session on textbooks and curriculum highlighted the importance of new and innovative ways of developing textbooks which foster the reading and writing habits among children. Television personalities like Khalid Anam also participated in the Festival and read out stories to children. A museum highlighting our history and heritage, an art corner, a mushaira and plays for children were some of the prominent features of the Festival.
The Festival has revolutionised how reading, writing, and thinking about children are perceived in Pakistan. It has showcased new ways of learning, and has involved thousands of children, teachers, and parents in the process. It is hoped that this will just be the beginning of the transformation process.
For more information, contact:
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Oxford University Press (OUP)
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