The UAE has developed legislative frameworks and sustainable action programmes and integrated strategies to build a cultural and cognitive renaissance by raising awareness amongst youth about the role of reading in refining the personality, developing intellectual and critical abilities and skills, said Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, on the occasion of the Month of Reading.
The national Month of Reading was launched in accordance with the Cabinet decision, which set the month of March of each year as a reading month, with the aim of promoting a culture of reading among the different segments of society.
“The month of reading is an annual event in which our educational and cultural institutions, governmental and private, launch their initiatives, projects and programs that stimulate the community to read and make reading a daily habit in our lives across the country.”
“The UAE has developed legislative frameworks and sustainable action programs and integrated strategies to build a cultural and cognitive renaissance by raising awareness amongst youth about the role of reading in refining the personality, developing intellectual and critical abilities and skills and instilling a passion for knowledge and culture in the minds of future generations and equip them with the tools of the future that enable them to confront challenges,” she added.
Al Kaabi pointed out that reading is the characteristic of civilized societies. Nations that value reading guarantee their advancement, as it is a tool to measure the strength of countries and their leadership. She went on to stress that the UAE has entered a new phase with the decision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to issue the national reading law, the first of its kind in the world to support the development of human capital, contribute to building intellectual and cognitive capacities, support national intellectual production and build knowledge-based societies in the country.
The national law of reading establishes binding frameworks for all governmental bodies in the educational, community, media and cultural sectors to consolidate reading among all groups of society at different ages. The law seeks to consecrate reading as a fixed feature in all public spaces in the UAE by obliging coffee shops in the commercial centers to provide reading material for customers. The law covers all aspects of reading, including development, dissemination, promotion and supporting systems to ensure the continuity of efforts to devote reading and institutionalize the general cultural effort and ensure its momentum.
The law consecrates reading as a fixed and accessible right for all since birth by providing three knowledge bags that cover the needs of children from infancy to the age of 4, at a rate of one bag every two years. The law introduces for the first time the concept of knowledge volunteering, by encouraging community groups to devote part of their time to reading to the elderly, patients and children, and those who are unable to read.
The UAE has launched the National Strategy for Reading 2016-2026, which aims to integrate reading into the lifestyle of the UAE society by 2026 by focusing on fostering a culture of reading within households, students and employees. It includes 30 key national trends in the education, health, culture, community development, media and content sectors.