Newspaper In Education (NIE), a novel school-based initiative of The Hindu aimed at giving children a wider perspective of life beyond academics, got off to a colourful start for the current academic year at Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala, on Monday.

Delivering the inaugural address, District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed said a person who does not read newspapers is like a person shut inside a closed room.

“The mediums that were developed in the recent past to keep us informed have not been able to minimize the importance of newspapers. We may have the radio and television today, but they do not give us detailed information as the newspaper does,” he said.

Quoting English philosopher A. C. Grayling on the relevance of reading, Mr. Pareed exhorted students to cultivate the habit of reading at a very young age. He said parents must take the initiative in getting their children to read the newspaper. “Reading to children at an early age can also help them establish social skills, especially if you read aloud to your kids and encourage them to discuss topics with you,” Mr. Pareed said.

Reading newspapers requires patience and children with the habit of reading seem to have more patience than those without it. “The habit of reading brings about changes not only in individuals, but also in society at large. Reading makes you smarter and keeps you sharp even as you age,” the collector said.

Reading reduces stress and improves analytical thinking, creativity, discipline, writing skills and helps one prioritize goals in life. Mr. Pareed lauded the initiative of The Hindu in instilling the reading habit among school children and its thrust on providing credible information to its readers.

School principal Maya Mohan said NIE encourages students, who might not do it otherwise, to read newspapers. She said the wonderful modules of NIE promote ideation, which has an important role in education, and out-of-the-box thinking among students. The interactions during the course of the NIE sessions also open up the minds of students to various professions. Whatever is written in the newspapers have a direct consequence in the lives of students, helping them to relate to it and prompting them to play their part in improving the situation, Ms. Mohan said.

Karthik U. Nair, a student member of the school’s literary committee, spoke on the school’s tryst with NIE for the past six years.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the various modules of NIE. Its emphasis is on the overall development of students including their communication skills,” he said. He hoped that the programme would continue in his school bringing the creative potential of students to the fore. Regional General Manager, The Hindu, Kochi, P. Narayanan spoke. School head girl Sharon welcomed the gathering and literary committee member Ashwin Menon proposed a vote of thanks.

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