Reading to children and creating e-content targeted at child’s ability to learn critical: Secretary, School Education & Literacy FICCI Publishing Awards in 6 categories presented

New Delhi: The Secretary, School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD, Ms. Rina Ray, said here today that the real challenge before educators and publishers was to create e-content that is targeted at a child ability to learn, was impactful and motivated a child to read.

Speaking at the Children’s Publishing Conclave, ‘Scrapbook – 2018’, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ms. Ray said, “I don???t think e-content currently is very good in terms of inculcating a reading habit amongst children. There is not a single survey in India to show that children learn from audio-visual content. In fact, certain surveys in western countries reveal that e-content actually takes a child backwards or impacts it in a negative way.”

The Secretary, however, set much store by learning through animation and comics and this had proved extraordinarily successful in institutions such as Alliance Francais where teaching was imparted through illustrated stories. She said that e-content today seemed to be targeted at those who pay for it; it impresses the adult who is lured to buy the content but does not impact the child.

Ms. Ray stressed on the importance of reading, for which, she recommended several ways, including framing of guidelines for illustrations in colour to make children appreciate content; exposure to the thoughts and lives of some of the greatest minds by way of classics and making it fashionable for parents to read to a child.

She said that at present, government schools were under pressure from “unethical” publishers in the selection of books for school libraries. ???We have suggested to schools to stock books published by the National Book Trust (NBT) and National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT),??? she said and suggested that FICCI could help in drawing up an empanelled list of publishers who produced the right kind of books for children.

Ms. Ray invited FICCI to work with the government to video-record reading sessions for children by celebrities and parents and upload the content on the social media. The narrative should be theatrical and not bland so as to excite and enage a child and thereby instil the reading habit.

On the question of publishing of disparaging content in school textbooks, Secretary Ray said that the media often quoted just a page which highlighted such content. It was important, she said, to publish the cover of the book and the name of the publisher to establish the claim and initiate redressal.

On the occasion, Ms. Ray gave away FICCI Publishing Awards to meritorious authors and publishers.

Mr. Ratnesh Jha, Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and MD, Cambridge University Press, spoke of the need to share the collective wisdom of society with children with the aim of creating value out of learning from others.

Ms. Karthika V. K., Co-Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and Publisher, Westland, also shared her perspective on the subject.

The following are the winners of the FICCI Publishing Awards in six categories:


Name of the Book



Book of Year: English

Harilal & Sons – A Novel

Sujit Saraf

Speaking Tiger Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

Book of Year: Hindi

Nagaphani Van Ka Itihaas


Sahitya Akademi

Children’s Book of the Year: English

Kittu’s Very Mad Day

Harshikaa Udasi

Duckbill Books

Children’s Book of the Year: Hindi

Sushree Chhachhundriya ne Samudra Tat Mein Surangen Banayin

Aditi Ghosh

Pratham Books

Upcoming Author of the Year: English

Mrs C Remembers

Himanjali Sankar

Pan Macmillan India

Upcoming Author of the Year: Hindi

UP- 65

Nikhil Sachan

Westland Publications Ltd. / Hindi Yugm