The inaugural conference on Newspaper In Education (NIE) was held in Sri Lanka to mark the launch of the programme in the country on Sunday.
The NIE programme is aimed at enhancing the reading interests in children and now our country would join the network of other Asian countries such as Indonesia, India and Thailand. It also expects to promote the use of newspapers as additional `textbook`and an individual classroom resource.
The programme is carried out by the World Association of Newspapers in order to promote readership habits among young people around the world. At present over 700 NIE programmes are being conducted in 65 countries.
The Minister of Education Susil Premajayanth who was to be the Chief Guest at the occasion was a notable absentee.
`Programmes of this nature should be backed by the Ministry of Education. However, it is sad to note that the desired support is lacking in this regard. The long run of the programme is entirely depended on the Ministry assistance`, the Project Coordinator for Media Education at the National Institute of Education Bandula P. Dayaratne said.
Commenting on the importance of inculcating the habit of reading newspares in children, he said that the current text books are based on information and data of twenty years ago.
`This is not a healthy situation as our children are not thought on moder developments and on current topics. In this scenario, newspapers could fill in the vacuum, he stressed.
The Executive Director of NIE in Indonesian Newspaper Association KuKuh Sanyoto, Protima Naidu of HT Media Limited India and the Secretary General of the National Press Council Thailand Chavarong Limpattamapanee addressed the semiar to share their views and experience regarding NIE activities of their respective countries. 3