A tabloid has been brought out by Bihar government to develop mathematical aptitude, scientific temperament and a taste for literature among children of state-run schools.
The Hindi fortnightly tabloid Bachpan (childhood), is being brought out by Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) and an NGO Pratham to cater to the needs of the pupils of class I to V.
"It is aimed at providing extra study material outside the syllabys to these children," State Coordinator of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), A K Pandey told PTI.
SSA, the campaign for universal education, is being implemented by the BEPC in Bihar.
Pandey said the tabloid was being distributed among students of nearly 10,000 regular state-run schools and those set up under SSA in seven districts - Vaishali, Jamui, Araria, Kishanganj, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Rohtas.
Sanjay Kumar, State Coordinator of Pratham, said more than five lakh copies of the tabloid have been distributed free among the children since its publication began in May.
It is being printed and published by National Hindi daily Hindustan, which has also been entrusted with the task of distribution through its network of hawkers. The BEPC pay the newspaper Rs one per copy for publication and distribution.
Material Coordinator of Pratham Sugata Sen Pillai said the NGO had launched a Padho Bharat Abhiyan about two years ago and had entered into a collaboration with BEPC for bringing out the tabloid for the first time in India.
"Our aim is to improve problem solving skills among children through easy and interesting methods of teaching. The graphics and cartoons in the tabloid interest them and thus the pace of learning is enhanced," she said.
Pillai said the regular newspapers did not not carry sufficient material to cater to the needs of children but Bachpan brought to them knowledge of language, science and mathematics that was easy to understand.
After the success of Bachpan, the BEPC is actively considering the launch of another tabloid to be named Bodh, independently.
"We are negotiating the modalities with Hindi daily Dainik Jagran to bring it out," Pandey said.
The BEPC official said the council proposed to cover school in ten districts - Purnia, Katihar, Supaul, Darbhanga, Madhubani, East Champaran, West Champaran, Nalanda, Lakhisarai and Sheikhpura.
"I am confident that the new tabloid will improve reading habits among children studying between class I and V," he said.
Like Bachpan, Bodh will also be a fortnightly and would be distributed among the students in 20, 000 schools in the ten districts entailing a cost of Rs ten lakh per month.