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Reading Challenge Project: A New Beginning For Nation’s Renaissance

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (Sudanow.info.sd) -Preparations are in high-gear to launch the Sudan's ‘’reading challenge ‘’ project as of next September. The project is part of a Dubai-sponsored scheme to beef up the reading experience of the Arab young population.
Launching the scheme, Dubai’s Ruler, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Premier, H.H Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoom said the scheme is seeking to commit more than a million primary and secondary school boys and girls to read an overall 50 million books in one year.
The Reading challenge programmes, which have now become a global phenomenon, are meant to fill the gap when, due to the summer vacation, children’s schedules shift abruptly and, accordingly, do their parents’.
Parents tend to focus less on educational activities, and more on keeping their children occupied and engaged throughout the summer.
Experts agree that children who read over the summer build on their reading skills, while those who don’t, fall behind.
Sheikh Rashid has assigned Prof. Al-Tayyib Ali Abusin as scheme commissioner for Sudan ‘’in recognition of his effort to develop school libraries in the United Arab Emirates since the year 2000..'' Prof. Abusin was dean of the scientific research schools in Dubai. For sometime he also served as consultant for the International Risala (Message) School as well as consultant for the Ajman (U.A.E) - based Ali Bin Rashid Foundation.
Sudanow has approached Prof. Abusin on the preparations now underway for launching the Sudan Reading Challenge Project .


Q: Please tell us about the project.
A: The project was launched by H.H Mohammad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoom , Deputy Premier and Ruler of the Dubai Emirate with the aim of encouraging primary and secondary school boys and girls to read books. The ultimate target is that youngsters of each member state of the Arab League (18 states) read 50 titles. That is because reading is the basis of knowledge and culture and the key to all sciences. The proof of this is that the first verse of the Holy Koran has enjoined The Prophet Mohammad and his followers to read: ” Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-, Created man, out of a leech-like clot:, Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the Pen,-Taught man that which he knew not. (Surat al-Alaq-The Holy Koran).

Logo of the project
Logo of the project

Q: Well, how the project works?
A: The project is an Arabic reading contest in which learners from Grade One (primary school) up to Grade Three (secondary school) compete around the Arab World. The annual contest spans during September-March. During the contest learners undergo five stages where in each stage they read and summarize ten books. After this the readers are classified in order of merit according to specified criteria. The contests are first held at municipal levels, then at state levels, then at national levels and then at the pan-Arab level, when the final contest is held in Dubai in May each year.

Q: And what about the contest rewards and incentives?
A: Huge sums of money and awards have been allocated for the schools, learners’ families and contest supervisors around the Arab World. The contest champion will receive a financial award to the amount of $150.000. The nine other winners will get varying financial awards.

Q: What other benefits can be attained from the project?
A: Beside raising the learners' reading skill, the project will help build up school libraries and provide training programs for the writers of children books. This can enrich the school curricula and raise the learning capability of the pupils and students.

Q: From your experience, does the project appeal to the concerned bodies in Sudan?
A: The project has made a steady and confident start in Sudan, thanks to the effort of its operatives. The first objective of the project is to enlighten all the Sudanese about the importance of Arabic and its role in the nation’s identity and civilization. In this context, we indicate the mounting concern of Prof. Abdalla al-Tayyib’s Arabic Language Institute of the project that assigned a number of its staff to monitor and support the project works. Another proof is that in the project’s round of 2015-2016 some 9000 persons took part, including persons with special needs reading 30 books (titles).

Mohamed bin Rashid
Mohamed bin Rashid

Q:What is the project’s schedule in Sudan?
A: The contest begins from the municipalities, up to the state and national level. Forty winners will then compete in the national capital, Khartoum, for the top 10 positions, winners of which will contest for the first position .The first winner on the national level will receive a $ 10,000 award. The other ten will receive varying awards. All the process will be conducted electronically.

Q: A final word?
A: I am calling upon all Sudanese to lend due concern to Arabic and its use through this purposeful project. Language is the basis of the nation’s renaissance because it represents an important part of the nation’s identity.



Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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