Thursday, November 3, 2011

D.E.A.R. Campaign at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

D.E.A.R. Campaign at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia
“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.” ~ Mortimer Adler

D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything And Read. D.E.A.R. Campaign started in early March of 2011 after several groups of students from my Cultural Anthropology class conducted a study relating to the culture of reading in Cambodia. After interviewing and observing students from different universities, the results were discouraging and depressing. Cambodian students basically don’t like to read. Most often, a majority of all university students come unprepared because they are not taught to read the required textbook and supplemental materials prior to class, which are part of real and advanced learning. Much of this is due to our failing to instill within them a habit and a passion for reading. Reading gives students knowledge to tackle all the problems in life and is a vital component for academic success. Reading is learning. Reading is thinking. Reading is creating. Reading is discovering. The development of paññā (analytical wisdom) starts with reading.

Since reading is one of the most common obstacles to academic success, a group of volunteer students at Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC) would like to plant the nascent seeds of reading culture to all students. D.E.A.R. Campaign involved all students and faculties at PUC to value reading. It encourages all students to read as much as possible. Students could also select their favorite reading materials during their free time. The whole idea is that everyone will develop the intrinsic interest in reading and make it a priority. The goal of D.E.A.R. Campaign is to uphold all students to read more. If we are going to get the students thinking, we need to get them reading.

By promoting this campaign, we could help improve the reading culture at PUC with the hope of improving the reading culture in Cambodia (according to World Bank, Cambodia literacy rate, estimated to around 78%, is one of the lowest levels in ASEAN, second only to Laos). Students have to start cherishing quality education that begins with reading. This campaign has helped them learn how important reading is for their academic success. Study shows that a good reading habit is a prerequisite to better learning. Furthermore, developing the greater reading culture will supplement and strengthen the culture of excellence.

All of us can make a big difference by promoting and developing the reading culture in the hearts and minds of ALL students as well as ALL people throughout Cambodia. Reading is the light to fight darkness. We want everyone, not just the young but also people at any age, to enjoy reading.