Goa, 2023: The Directorate of Education, Goa in partnership with Pratham Books launched a one of its kind Konkani Reading Programme under the ‘Goa is Reading’ initiative. This is supported by Indus Towers, one of the world’s largest telecom tower companies and India’s leading provider of passive telecom infrastructure, as part of its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme – Saksham. The programme on Pratham Books StoryWeaver with 144+ beautifully illustrated, thematic storybooks was created with the recognition that access to literary material in mother tongue languages is a cornerstone to inclusivity in education, especially in the early grades.
“In this world of technology where people resort to the mobile for getting any information, if somebody can motivate the students to read it will be a fantastic thing and ‘Goa is Reading’ initiative is doing precisely the same thing.I congratulate Pratham Books and the project team for a wonderful job of completing one year and I wish them all the very best.” Shailesh Zingde – Director of Education Goa
The launch of the Konkani Reading Programme is an important milestone in a two year partnership between the Directorate of Education and Pratham Books with the aim of to promote reading habits among students by setting up a structured reading framework for Government and Government-aided schools in the state. Through this ‘Goa is Reading’ initiative, which is in line with recommendations of the National Education Policy (2020), schools and teachers have been using English and Marathi storybooks from a large repository of openly licensed high-quality children’s storybooks and supplementary resources via the Pratham Books Digital Reading Programme on StoryWeave. Physical reading corners with 150+ storybooks have also been set up in classrooms with the Library-in-a-Classroom from Pratham Books.
Mr. Sukesh Thareja, CEO, Maharashtra & Goa Circle, Indus Towers Limited said, “In the evolving landscape of digital connectivity, mobile networks have become ubiquitous in broadening access to education and technology. Indus is proud of its association with Pratham Books ‘Goa is Reading’, an initiative that transcends the boundaries of online and offline learning. This collaborative effort is an impactful programme to preserve linguistic diversity and promoting reading for pleasure in mother tongue languages at the school level.”
UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring report estimates that 40 % of the world’s population does not have this access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Learning to read in one’s mother tongue early in school also helps reduce dropout rates and makes education more engaging, meaningful and enjoyable for children. This makes it essential to create high-quality mother tongue reading resources, for all the benefits created including supporting reading skills acquisition among children.
The Konkani Reading Programme was launched on 27.11.2023 by the Director of Education, Shri Shailesh Zingde, joined by the Director of SCERT, Shri Shambhu Ghadi. Shri Shailesh Zingde addressed the gathering highlighting the importance of multilingual reading and learning materials in education and Shri Shambhu Ghadi further emphasised on the important role played by schools in building a culture of reading to help children become avid readers. Shri Chetan Acharya, Konkani activist and former president, Konkani Bhasha Mandal spoke about the history of Konkani and his love for the language, outlining what it means to get children read in Konkani in today’s time and age. Purvi Shah, Senior Director – StoryWeaver; Vibha Sharma, Head HR, Maharashtra & Goa Circle, Indus Towers provided perspectives on the importance of preserving linguistic diversity and promoting reading for pleasure in mother tongue languages as a critical way of engaging children in schools.
The event concluded with felicitating the language champions and translation partners followed by read alouds of selected Konkani storybooks from the programme by children which sparked immediate joy in the audience.