Reading contributes to the healthy and comprehensive development of young minds and choosing credible sources matters the most, said M. Karunakaran, District Collector, at the inauguration of The Hindu Newspaper in Education (NIE) programme, held here on Monday at Sri Ramakrishna Matriculation Higher Secondary School. The programme, in its eighth year, covers more than 10,000 students, giving them opportunity to develop critical thinking ability and improve general knowledge.

In his student days there were not many opportunities to know what was happening around. “The village elders' gossip was the only source of information,” Mr. Karunakaran said. Today, due to technological advancements, there were too much of information reaching people through multifarious sources.

The abundance of information sometimes led students to make wrong choices. They needed to pick the right content that would improve their knowledge and help them grow. One way of picking the right content was going in for newspapers that were credible and dependable.

Mr. Karunakaran asked the students to go beyond their textbooks in their pursuit for knowledge. Textbooks never touched upon contemporary issues, which were in abundance in newspapers. He asked the students to keep reading newspapers to improve their vocabulary and widen the knowledge base.It was only appropriate that The Hindu had chosen to launch the programme on Teachers' Day, said S. Ranganathan, Secretary, Sri Ramakrishna Matriculation Higher Secondary School. He said students could improve knowledge if they studied their textbooks and read the paper for developing life skills.

Since its launch in 2004, the ‘Newspaper in Education' programme had been a tremendous success, said D. Rajkumar, Regional General Manager, The Hindu, Coimbatore.

This year, 15 more schools from Coimbatore and Tirupur districts had joined the programme. NIE aimed to create awareness among children on contemporary issues and helped them develop critical thinking to make informed choices. The programme that covered over 10 lakh students in 112 cities/towns across the country also focussed on encouraging reading habit among children.

“I have been attending the NIE programme from Class V onwards. It was very informative and has helped me improve general knowledge. We discuss the news with our teachers and classmates. I enjoy doing the “Hey Math!” column in the Young World supplement with my friends,” said K.P. Nithin of Class VIII.

“The discussions in class on current issues are really helpful. I have been attending the programme for three years and this has given me an exposure to a wide range of topics,” said A. Balaguru of Class IX.

“Giving orientation and proper guidance in reading and analysing news will be more beneficial for the students and I think NIE is the right step in this regard,” said Jyothi Bhai Rajammal, Principal of the School.

“The students are very enthusiastic to read out the news and discuss it among themselves. It is an enriching exercise for them, says B. Sukitha, NIE co-ordinator of the school.

P. Vijayakumar, Assistant Regional Manager (Circulation), The Hindu, Coimbatore, proposed a vote of thanks. Schools that wished to join the NIE programme may contact Mr. Vijayakumar on 98942-20609.

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