Students of government primary schools in Jharkhand will soon have access to child-friendly libraries where they will get books of their interest, which would help develop their reading habits and enhance their learning capacity, officials said. The Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) has already piloted 50 such well-decorated libraries with low-height chairs and tables in the state in association with a non-profit organisation working for children's literacy and girls' education.
Reading and learning ability among primary students have been a concern for the state education department. An analysis of the Annual Status of Education Report suggests that reading ability among students declined between 2008 and 2018. Notably, a mere 29.4 per cent of children in government schools in Class 5 in Jharkhand were able to read a Class 2 level textbook in 2018, while the count was 51.9 per cent in 2008, according to an ASER report.
The ASER is a citizen-led household survey that aims at understanding whether children in rural India are enrolled in schools and whether they are learning. "We have tied up with ‘Room to Read’ for the library project. The organisation is setting up libraries and providing study materials at no cost to the government. If the project is successful, it will be extended on a large scale through a proper scheme," JEPC director Kiran Kumari Pasi told PTI.
The objective of such libraries is to develop a habit of reading out of syllabi and inculcate reading skills among students of Classes 1 to 5, she said. "Pictorial books and other study materials -- according to the level of students -- have been provided by the organisation, which we find are attracting students," Ms Pasi said. One such library, set up at Government Middle School, Kantatoli, in Ranchi city a month back, has turned out to be a fun zone for the primary students of the institution, the official claimed.
They eagerly wait for the library period to pick up their specially designed pictorial storybooks. “We have introduced a library period in the daily routine for around 160 students of Classes 1 to 5. The way the library has been developed, organised and beautified, it has turned out to be a centre of attraction for the students. Though it is in a very initial stage, we are noticing a change among the students,” headmistress Betul Sudharm told PTI. Now, they show eagerness to tell stories that they read in pictorial books in the library, she said.