The program is set to run over the next two years in Sindh and Islamabad Capital Territory with plans to bring reading materials directly to communities as part of a larger mission to improve the quality of education.
It’s all part of the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project, a five-year initiative that supports the country’s provincial and regional Departments of Education to improve the reading skills of four million children.
The project does this by improving the quality of primary education, teacher education, policy reforms and community engagement. This includes making supplemental instructional materials more widely available to primary school teachers as well as providing a model that ensures sustainability of the initiatives even through permanent policy changes.
The result? At least 2.5 million children who can read at levels commensurate with their grade standards.
The mobile bus library program is an effort to see this vision come true by bringing age-appropriate reading materials directly to communities that don’t have established libraries.
In addition, trained librarians will be aboard each bus, conducting storytelling sessions in each community that they visit. They will also issue books for students to take home to read. It’s an initiative to help reintroduce and reestablish a national culture of reading that once existed in Pakistan.
At the program’s official inauguration, the Assistant to the Administrator of USAID, Donald “Larry” Sampler, and the President of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), David Miliband, were present to speak on the occasion.
“The Mobile Library Programme is just one element of the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project which will help Pakistani children to start their own journeys in the world of books,” said Sampler. “Through this partnership between USAID, our implementing partner – the IRC and the Government of Pakistan, we are taking a multi-pronged approach to help increase literacy.”
The Pakistan Reading Project is a $165 million project that has launched several campaigns as well as television and radio episodes with complimentary print material that highlight the importance of reading to all communities.
With the addition of the mobile library bus program, this project anticipates that they will fulfill their vision in seeing improvement in classroom learning and the reestablishment of a national reading culture.
– Chelsee Yee