State government launches ‘Shraddha Vachanalaya’ to encourage reading habit

Children in government schools spent an hour in the library on Wednesday morning as part of Shraddha Vachanalaya, an initiative aimed at inculcating reading habit. However, there were no parents seen reading with their children in at least three schools that The Hindu visited.

Teachers in three government schools told The Hindu that the schools had sufficient number of books and the children were encouraged to read and borrow books from the library. However, there was no such encouragement from the home as most parents were daily wage workers.

In Government Higher Primary School, Pandeshwar, the children were reading books. Usha, former headmistress of the school (who continues to work there), said the children preferred reading short story books. She said the parents worked as daily wage earners or construction workers and it was difficult to expect them to come to the school their children attended. Some parents did turn up but they could not read, she said.

In the same school, Shreya, Class 5, was reading Jalave Jeevana. Aishwarya was reading a book on trains. She said she had never been into a train.

Chanchalakshi, Headmistress, Government Higher Primary Shool, Bolar, said the parents of every child in the school were daily wage earners and they were unable to visit the school. “We told them it is at 11 a.m. But they come when it suits them,” she said.

Gayatri, Class 3, was reading Bannada Kaage with her classmate. In this school, although the children had books in their hands, there was pandemonium in the room. The children got back to reading their books when the teacher entered the room.

Imam Kasim Agra, Headmaster, Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Urdu Higher Primary School, Bolar, said that the parents of the students lived far from the school. There was no shortage of books and the children had access to books in Urdu, Kananda, English and Hindi, he said.