November 21 will be the day when secondary students of South Mumbai schools won’t pack textbooks in their bags.
Instead they will be asked to carry their favourite books to mark No-Books Day. There will be no classes that day and students will be encouraged to read books or pick up a magazine or newspaper to read.
No-Books Day is a unique drive step taken by South Zone education inspector’s office to inculcate the love of reading among students. Initiatives to promote reading habits will start across Mumbai under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)’s Read With Fun programme in next week.
The No-Books Day is the brainchild of BB Chavan, education inspector, South Zone. “Every zone has been asked to promote reading among children through different activities. Instead of taking them to book fairs and giving speeches, we have decided to do something different,” he said.
To ensure schools take special efforts to promote reading among children throughout the year, the department will also keep a record of how much children are reading and will reward children who read a lot. “We will involve librarians in this initiative, ask them to maintain records of children borrowing books and encourage them to read more,” said BB Chavan.
The schools are enthusiastic about this drive. “We are supporting this drive. There is a definitely a need to encourage children to read and we hope to make a start with this programme,” said Freny Mehta, principal, Alexandra Girls’ English Institution, Fort.
In fact, the schools plan to undertake various activities to encourage children to read through the year.
Anjuman-i-Islam’s Saif Tyabji’s Girls School, Byculla, has decided to ask teachers to encourage students to read during their free time. “When a teacher is absent or during a free-period, students will be asked to read books other than text books,” said Najma Kazi, principal of the school. “We will also inform children about ebooks and literary prizes such as Booker and Pulitzer.”
More activities on the cards
Essay competition for teachers: Teachers will have to write 1,000 to 1,200-word essays on the topic, “What I have gained from books?” The last date for submission is November 15. Cash prizes from Rs 2,500 to 11,000 will be given
Book donation drive: Individuals, non-government organisations, social service groups can donate books in Hindi, Marathi, English, Urdu and Gujarati by November 20. The books will be given to needy students or those enthusiastic to read. Books can be dropped off at Sadhana Vidyalaya, Sion, Social Service League School, Parel, Chhabildas Boys High School, Dadar or Sevasadan High School, Grant Road
Book fair: Granth Mahotsav will be held at Damodar Hall, Parel, from November 26 to 28. The North Zone (Central suburbs) will also hold a similar fair in December.