Book reading contest abuzz with students
Nameera Khan was very happy as she has just received the award of the best book reader in Chittagong in a prize giving ceremony of Book Reading Competition organised by Chittagong Resource Centre of British Council, Bangladesh on Friday.
A total of 2,100 students participated in the competition, launched in June 2011, from the Chittagong city and greater Chittagong area.
“I am very happy today,” said Ekramul Hoque Khan, father of Nameera, also deputy manager of Meghna Petroleum Ltd, adding that her daughter read all the books given by the British Council.
Ekramul said such a competition will help the students to be habituated with reading world-class classics written for children.
Nameera said she has read six books including The House on the Hill, Anna and the Fighter, The Happy Prince, The Teacher's Secret and other Folk Tales, The Dangerous Journey and Sherlock Homes. She participated in the competition last year when she was a student of class five of Bay View School. She now studies in Cantonment English School in class six.
Nameera was a little bit gloomy despite getting the best reader's award as her new school did not participate in the competition and she did not know whether the school would take part in the next competition, scheduled for June this year.
“I want to participate in the competition this year too,” she said, adding that she would request her principal so that my school participates in the competition.
The prize giving ceremony was buzzing with around 600 guests including students, teachers and guardians.
Pushpita Biswas of KAFCO School and College also got the prize of the best reader. Like Pushpita, Habiba Hossain of Dr Khastagir Govt Girls' High School, Urmi Atandrila of Chattagram Ma O Shishu Medical College, Sumaiya Saeha of Ispahani Public School and College, Aira Barua of Sahaj Path Fulki School, Muhit Sakib Mim of CUF School and College got the best award among the students of their respective schools.
Mashudul Alam, resource centre officer of British Council, Bangladesh, said 2,100 students from 19 schools, colleges, medical colleges and universities from the port city and the greater Chittagong participated in the competition.
“Usually we request the principal or head of the educational institutions to take part in the competition”, he said, adding that the school is selected for the competition if at least 100 students of an institution are registered with the programme.
The students are provided with five or six books for reading, he said, adding that a test is taken after six months for checking whether they went through these books or not.
He said the students who score above 40 percent of marks are given prizes with certificates and the best scorer gets a laptop computer and this time Nameera has got it.
The British Council has launched the programme to create an opportunity for the students to learn English through reading a number of world classics written in simple language, said Sarwat Reza, resource centre manager of British Council, Bangladesh.
“10,000 students have registered so far in Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox's Bazar which, we expect, would double this year,” she said.
“We will also launch the programme in other divisions of the country to promote the programme among students of the country,” she added.
“Basically the concept of book reading programme is of Biswa Sahitya Kendra, Bangladesh and we have taken this concept”, she said.
Nahid Khan, manager of British Council Chittagong centre, said a student would have to be member of a library to take part in this competition. The registration fee is Tk 200 for six months, she added.
Shahnaz Shaheed, an assistant teacher of English at Dr Khastagir Govt Girls' High School, said the programme is helpful for the students in learning English. Praising the programme, she also pointed out some weaknesses of the programme.
She said there seems to be a lack of coordination in the process of borrowing and returning books for which the students are in a fix. They are not properly informed about the time for completion of reading these books, she added.
Principal Fazle Alam of Chittagong International School said the programme initiated by the British Council will play a vital role in enhancing the reading habit of students, especially, the school students.