Families, Not Schools, Responsible to Inculcate Reading Habits in Children: Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani emphasized that the responsibility for cultivating a love for reading in children doesn't rest solely with schools; families also play a crucial role. During her address at the Indian Publishers Conference's inaugural session, the Minister of Women and Child Development underscored the importance of pursuing knowledge with intrinsic motivation. She highlighted the prevalent trend of linking learning to specific goals and exams, rather than reading for personal growth and enjoyment.
Drawing from her own upbringing, Irani shared that her family instilled a reading habit in her through books during her childhood. She questioned the prevalent notion that schools should bear the exclusive responsibility for educating children and challenged families to reassert their role in this regard. She pointed out the need for a collective effort, stating, "We shouldn't delegate the entire responsibility of a child's education to schools; families also have a vital role to play. The onus is on us to teach."
Irani also advocated for traditional reading methods using physical books, particularly for younger age groups, as opposed to digital devices. She referred to a 2014 document from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that initially promoted education through devices. However, she emphasized the importance of age-appropriate introduction of technology, citing potential cognitive drawbacks when devices are introduced too early.
Highlighting the potential adverse effects on cognitive development and eye health associated with excessive device use for reading, Irani called for a balanced approach. She expressed concern about the impact of digital consumption on both younger and older individuals.
The event, organized by the Federation of Indian Publishers, brought together key figures from the publishing industry to explore the theme "India at 2047: The Role of Publishing in Nation Building." The conference aimed to dissect how publishing contributes to economic growth, job creation, and the dissemination of knowledge. Diverse sessions, including discussions on 'Quality Education and NEP,' 'Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights in Publishing,' and 'The Influence of Artificial Intelligence on Publishing,' were covered over the two-day event.