The Putao edition of Myanmar’s Children’s Literature Festival was launched at Phonganrazi Hall in Putao, Kachin State, yesterday.
The Putao literature festival is a collaboration between the Putao district administration committee, various donors, the Department of Basic Education under the Ministry of Education, and the Information and Public Relations Department under the Ministry of Information.
The festival was formally opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside Phonganrazi Hall by Union Ministers Dr. Dr. Pe Myint and Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, Kachin State Hluttaw Deputy Speaker U Khan Lin, State Minister for Social Affairs U Nay Win, IPRD Director-General U Ye Naing, Putao District Administrator U Thant Zin, and three outstanding students, while a student’s marching band played in the background with dancing troupes.
The Union Ministers then took a documentary photo with the guests and students in attendance.
The second part of the opening ceremony continued inside Phonganrazi Hall as students from B.E.H.S. Putao sang the theme song of the children’s literature festival.
Dr. Pe Myint’s speech
The Union Minister for Information then delivered a speech. He said special value was placed in organizing the children’s literature festival in Putao as it is located in the northernmost region of the country. He said he took care to ensure he could visit the festival in Putao and came together with the Union Education Minister. He explained the three objectives for organizing literature festivals for children.
The first objective is making the children happy. The Union Minister said pairing fun moments with reading will instil positive connotations for the rest of their lives. The second objective is making children happy through literature and the third objective is fostering the spirit of teamwork in children.
The Union Minister encouraged the children at the festival to participate in the activities organized there so that they will gain self-confidence and increase their capabilities.
The Union Minister highlighted the fact that more government departments are participating in the children’s literature festivals by opening their respective exhibition booths. He said this festival is displaying 3,263 books published in 2018 and will be donated by the IPRD and other donors to remain in Putao District for its residents to read.
The Union Minister urged the people to read at least one book from the donated batch. As is true in the saying ‘Every people and country that reads, prospers’, everyone needs to develop their skills for a better future for our country, said the Union Minister.
Dr. Myo Thein Gyi’s speech
The Union Minister for Education next delivered a speech. He said it is important for the children to participate in the various competitions held at the festival. He said his ministry holds the greatest responsibility for ensuring children are literate. He said it is also important to make sure the children are attracted enough to read the books at the festival, have fun from reading, and are able to attend school.
The Ministry of Education vows there will be no discrimination in ensuring no citizen gets left behinds in education, school dropout rates are non-existent, and all school-age children finish primary education, said the Union Minister.
He said priority education programmes are carried out in regions like this and teachers are traversing difficult terrain to provide education to the children. This is for ensuring all children finish primary education. It is also important for students completing third grade to be able to read. He said he was referring to reading to be able to discuss what is right and wrong. He also said we must preserve the literature and culture of all ethnic races.
The was followed by words of gratitude from State Minister U Nay Win. The opening ceremony then continued with performances by students from B.E.H.S. Putao, B.E.H.S. Dottan, and B.E.H.S. Lay Yin Kwin, after which the Union Ministers and invited guests met cordially with the cultural dance troupes, students and local residents attending the festival.
Competitions and exhibitions
The Union Ministers later visited B.E.H.S. Putao and observed the ethnic cultural groups and students partaking in the poem recitals, storytelling, impromptu speaking, origami, colouring, and painting competitions.
They next visited the exhibition booths displaying the culture of the Rawan, Lisu, Jinphaw and Taikhamti Shan ethnic races.
Other booths include an educational display on conserving
biodiversity, organized by the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, displays on drug and human trafficking and road safety by Myanmar Police Force, exhibits by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Technical, Vocational Education and Training, a booth on women’s domestic education by the Ministry of Border Affairs, booths by the Department of Rural Development and the Consumer Affairs Department, and a clinic set up by the Ministry of Health and Sports.
The Union Ministers also visited booths selling traditional ethnic products by region and cheered on as they watched people participating in futsal, sepak takraw and women’s htote-see-htoe (game combing elements of hopscotch and tag) competitions.
The Children’s Literature Festival in Putao will continue today at Phonganrazi Hall and B.E.H.S. Putao with children from Rawan, Lisu, Jinphaw, Shan ethnic races competing in storytelling and poem recitals using their respective ethnic languages.
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)