President U Htin Kyaw spoke at the opening ceremony of the children’s literature festival co-sponsored by the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education and Shan State Cabinet held at Taunggyi University in Taunggyi, Shan State yesterday.
The President said the event has created the perfect learning environment by providing an enjoyable atmosphere that encouraged children to read and explore literature.
“We hope to bring about happiness for children, by increasing their exposure to ideas and knowledge, cultivating reading habits, improving nationalism and patriotism and enabling children to develop the courage to overcome hardships”, the President said. “In this time, when we are using cutting-edge technology, parents need to take care that mindless entertainment and games are not overwhelming the minds of children. Under these circumstances, it will not be easy to persuade children to avert their attentions to reading, but we want to urge parents to make concerted efforts for the development of our children’s future”.
The President added that it was never too early to start nurturing a child’s interest in reading and overall learning.
“Lullabies and songs we were told as children are in fact a part of the history of children’s literature. In the past, they were central in Myanmar’s literary canon. I hereby urge parents and teachers to cultivate the development of future leaders by using children’s reading rooms and children’s poems.
Present at the opening ceremony were Union Ministers Dr. Pe Myint and Dr. Myo Thein Gyi, Nai Thet Lwin, Shan State Cabinet’s Chief Minister, Major-General Win Min Tun of Eastern Command, State Cabinet members, departmental heads, town elders, teachers, students and their parents, booklovers, invited guests and officials.
The President, Union Ministers, State Chief Minister and students opened the festival by cutting a ribbon and posing for photos.
The President then planted a mahogany tree in front of Taunggyi University in commemoration of the literature festival opening accompanied by several children. The tree planting was followed by a rendition of the theme song of the Children’s Literature Festival by students from Basic Education Schools in Shan State.
The President noted that yesterday’s event in Taunggyi was only the latest in a long series of children’s literature festivals across the country.
“When respective ministries are striving for the success of their departments, it was found that the Ministry of Information was holding children’s literature festivals across the country with a view to the multi-development of children who are to become future leaders and development of children’s literature. In the past year, the Ministry of Information has held children’s literature festivals in Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Mawlamyaine, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, respective regional and state cabinets and literature lovers. Moreover, it was very pleasing to hear that similar children’s literature festivals have been held in 11 towns in some districts, in collaboration with the locals”, the President said.
Dr. Pe Myint, the Union Minister for Information, said the aims and objectives for holding children’s literature festivals were to make children happy and comfortable in the environment of literature and to make children’s futures brighter so that they can keep up with the developing world.
At the end of the opening ceremony, the President and attendees inspected the ground floor and first floor of Taunggyi University where youth competitions were being held, along with reading rooms, exhibitions and book stalls.
Children took part in an origami competition, painting competition and other activities. The three-day festival will end on 3 June. There are a total of 32 exhibitions and over 60 bookstalls. The biography of Sayargyi Min Thu Wun, his poems on children and documentary photos are being exhibited and sold at the festival.
In the afternoon, the President and party paid a pilgrimage visit to Mwedaw Kattu Pagoda in Kattu village in Taunggyi township, and made a similar pilgrimage to Shwebonepwint Pagoda and Cula Muni Loka Chantha Pagoda in the evening.