28 million students, 229,000 schools participate in 8th Arab Reading Challenge

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday announced that the eighth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge has garnered participation from 28 million students from across 229,000 schools in 50 countries.

“Today, I reviewed the statistics of the eighth edition of the Arab Reading Challenge, the world’s largest initiative to promote reading among students. This edition sees participation from 229,000 schools across 50 countries, with a total of 28 million students involved, under 154,000 supervisors,” Sheikh Mohammed announced in a post on his official X account.‏

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“We believe that the power of reading can change lives. We believe reading has the potential to shape lives and build different generations. Through reading, the doors to knowledge, science and civilisation are unlocked. We thank all the participating countries and wish millions of students a fulfilling journey filled with the wonders of reading,” the Vice-President added.

Meanwhile, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) said participation in this year’s edition has seen a 13.7 per cent increase compared to last year figures, when 24.8 million students competed in the challenge.

Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Secretary General of MBRGI, said: “The Arab Reading Challenge initiative reflects the visions of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for a comprehensive Arab knowledge renaissance through reading, through promoting the status of the Arabic language, and by being open to the cultures of the world.”

“The constant increase in participation numbers is clear evidence the initiative has succeeded in reaching all students across the Arab world as well as Arab communities abroad. At the same time, we notice that in 8 years, the challenge has exceeded all expectations in terms of participation or its community impact, as it continues to instill a love of reading and knowledge among the new generation,” he added.

Final qualifiers

Organised under the umbrella of MBRGI, the 8th Arab Reading Challenge kicked off the final country-level qualifying rounds with over 28 million students from 50 countries, representing 229,620 schools with the help of 154,643 supervisors.

Country-level reading champions are announced by the end of these rounds, and move on to compete against each other for the Arab Reading Challenge Champion.

Students need to read and summarise the content of 50 books to compete in the qualifying rounds that move up from the class and then school levels up to the country level.

Outstanding reading champions outstanding schools on the country level are selected based on rigorous criteria that closely evaluates all aspects of the participation.

Specialised committees work closely with the Arab Reading Challenge committees to select winners at the education zone and governate levels, until the top 10 reading champions are selected as well as a champion from each country, who then move to the final qualifying stage to win the Arab Reading Challenge title.

Valuable prizes

Winner of the Arab Reading Champion title receives an award of Dh500,000 to continue their journey of knowledge and, broaden their horizons and advance their experiences.

A Dh1 million is presented to the outstanding school, helping improve its capabilities to invest in further driving the practice of reading as a daily habit. Another Dh300,000 award is presented to the outstanding supervisor so they can continue to inspire and mentor future generations.

The reading champion selected at the Community champions award Dh100,000 award. This category is open to Arabs living abroad and non-Arabs learning the Arabic language.

Instilling knowledge

The challenge also aims to spark passion for knowledge and foster the habit of reading among the young generation to broaden horizons and boost critical, analytical, and creative skills. By exposing them to the values and beliefs of other cultures, the challenge helps instill the foundations for tolerance, coexistence and cultural dialogue.

Year after year, the Arab Reading Challenge continues to attract a larger numbers of students. The first edition in 2015 saw the participation of 3.6 million students from 19 countries, while the 7th edition in 2023 attracted 24.8 million students from 46 countries, when the title was awarded to both Abdullah Mohammad Abdullah Al Berri from Qatar and Amnah Mohammad Al Mansoori from the UAE.