Shaikh Mohammad honours Fatima Al Nuami, who topped the 15 that were outstanding in the reading challenge. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: This year will be a turning point in the field of knowledge, culture and behaviour in the lives of tens of thousands of Emiratis, said His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammad said this on Wednesday as he honoured 15 students in the UAE who achieved outstanding results in the Arab Reading Challenge.

Since the launch of the challenge last year, 50,000 students in the UAE have read 50 books each during the school year. In total, the Arab Reading Challenge saw the participation of more than 160,000 students from 828 schools who have read five million books.

Shaikh Mohammad issued directives to begin distributing special certificates, which are signed by him, in recognition of the achievements of the 50,000 students.

Shaikh Mohammad personally signed and presented the certificates to the top students in the presence of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, and Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammad surprised Fatima Al Nuaimi from Ras Al Khaimah, announcing that she was the most outstanding among the UAE students who took part in the challenge. Shaikh Mohammad stressed that recognising people of knowledge and reading is the duty of every leader who is striving to build a generation that will change the nation’s future for the better.

“I’m proud of the 50,000 students who completed the challenge and read 50 books during their school year. I’m very optimistic about a new generation that is educated, aware, capable of keeping abreast of global changes and building the future of the UAE,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

“The Reading Challenge achieved a paradigm shift in our students’ culture and knowledge. If Emirati students read five million books a year, then there will only be good things in the UAE’s future,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

While honouring the outstanding students and congratulating Fatima Al Nuaimi, who will represent the UAE in the final round of the Arab Reading Challenge in September 2016, Shaikh Mohammad emphasised that 2016 will be a different year for the UAE.

“It will be a turning point in the field of knowledge, culture and behaviour in the lives of tens of thousands of Emiratis. Through the Arab Reading Challenge, our national policies and laws on reading, we will bring about real change in the lives of thousands of Emirati students,” he added.

“We have a dream to graduate generations that are cultured, aware, tolerant and capable of building a different future. My advice to every teacher and official in UAE schools is to never let go of this dream, because with their efforts today, the UAE can reap the fruits of joy, prosperity and excellence for the coming decades,” said Shaikh Mohammad.

Shaikh Mohammad issued directives to give appreciation certificates to all students who have read 50 books in each UAE school. He also ordered officials to honour the top students and complete preparations for the Arab region-wide competition that will be held in September in Dubai.

The names of the top UAE students in the Arab Reading Challenge will be announced on Thursday during a ceremony attended by Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education.

Those present at Wednesday’s function included Al Hammadi, Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Arab Reading Challenge, and Najla Al Shamsi, Secretary General of the Arab Reading Challenge.

Shaikh Mohammad launched the challenge back in September 2015 as the largest regional project to encourage reading among students in the Arab world.