"Students should read many selected good books besides textbooks for deepening and expanding the horizon of their knowledge," said renowned writer Abul Kahsem Fazlul Haq, Emeritus Professor of Dhaka University, at a daylong program of Shikkhalok, a quarterly bulletin on education published by CDIP. He was Chief Guest in this program.

Every year Shikkhalok organizes a get-together of writers, artists, journalists, development activists and social workers connected to some extent with it. This year 9 March was the 6th Shikkhalok Lekhok-Shilpi Sommilon at CDIP Library and Conference Room in Dhaka. The education bulletin focusing on its education and related development activities done by CDIP at field level in rural areas has already established itself as a respectable publication to a wide circle of educated civil society members in the country. This get-together is meant to create a bond between all in connection with Shikkhalok and launch a brainstorming of participants on some vital issues in education. This time the topics were: 1. Role of libraries in developing a nation and CDIP's open library, and 2. Role of Shikkhalok in spreading the ideas on education in the country.

CDIP's new initiative is to start a new library movement by setting up Mukto-Pathagar (open libraries) in schools in suburban and rural areas in the country. CDIP's Education Supervisor and 20 teachers of 20 learning centers on village courtyards under each microcredit Branch office collect some 50 to 60 books from local educated people as donation. Then they talk to head teachers in their areas asking them for a space on a outside wall of the school building for setting up a shelf for books, which CDIP has named Muhammad Yahiya Mukto-Pathagar after their late founder executive director. From this open library set up on a school wall students can take books to home without any much formality and give it back to the library after they have finished reading without any urging by anyone. The shelf remains open for use by any student during the school hour. There are round the year programs surrounding this library activity such as Selecting and Awarding Best Readers, Awarding Best Essay Writers on Books, etc. A presentation on this Mukto-Pathagar was done by Mahbub Ul Alam. After the welcoming speech by Manzur Shams, a renowned writer, the discussion by guests started on the topics.

Professor Shahidul Islam, a renowned educationist, and Professor Niranjan Adhikary, former teacher of Sangskrit at DU, were present as Special Guests in the program. Sanjay Sharma, an artist from the College of Arts under Delhi University, was also present here as an honorable guest. The two sessions were chaired by Fazlul Bari, Chairman, and Shajahan Bhuiya, Vice-Chairman of CDIP. Among the distinguished participants there were Eliash Uddin Palash, Editor of Shampratik Deshkal, Khan Md. Rabiul Alam, teacher at ULAB, Poet Saikat Habib, Artist Zahid Mustafa, Janabiggan Editor Ayub Hossain, Fahmida Karim, a nutritionist and singer, Saleha Begum, writer and researcher, Artist Dilruba Papia, Artist Shishir Mallick, Ranjan Mallick, a documentary filmmaker, and many others.

Professor Abul Kahsem Fazlul Haq in his long speech gave emphasis for students on reading good books from libraries and he gave opinion that frequent changes in education policy and textbooks harms the progress of education. He touched many national and international issues important for advance of humanity. All speakers praised CDIP's new initiative of setting up open book shelves on school walls and shared their ideas on expanding and extending the Multo-Pathagar program in other places of the country.

The writer is Editor, Biggan O Sangskriti

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