Seri Mulia Sarjana School (SMSS) student Jawata Afnan won the heart of judges and took the top spot in the Bangladesh Victory Day Essay Competition organised in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh.
Ayden Chung Xun Wang of Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College (MSPSBS) was placed second and Justene Wong Yixuan of St Andrew’s School won third place, while special mention went to SMSS students Kevin Su Sen Shong, Qasrina Mohd Pradaus and Nur Soffiya Nadhirah binti Hamzah.
The competition was organised by the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam in collaboration with the Reading and Literacy Association (ReLA). The winners were awarded during a ceremony at the Bangladesh High Commission in Kampong Tanah Jambu yesterday.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Nahida Rahman Shumona shared that the Bangladesh Independence in 1971 is the credit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and “today Bangladesh is a country, widely recognised and appreciated for its phenomenal socio-economic development”.
“This,” she added, “attributes to the strong and visionary leadership of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
Meanwhile, ReLA President Dr Malai Zeiti binti Sheikh Abdul Hamid noted that her research found that exposure to children’s stories and reading bedtime stories significant-ly improves children’s interest and positive reading habits.
“Reading is an important part in life and to become a well-educated and knowledgeable person, there is a need to read and eventually write our thoughts. Hence this is why literacy is such an important part our lives as through reading and writing, thoughts are critically crafted towards becoming a critical reader, writer and thinker,” she said.
“Maintaining our culture is an important part our lives, it is our identity and shows where we come from. We share our beliefs and traditions, which have been passed down from one generation to the next.”
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the improvement of literacy is a global concern, in every region of the world and in countries at every level of income and is widely recognised as critical to the achievement of most of the sustainable development goals comprising the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As an advocate of literacy and president of ReLA, she supports UNESCO’s vision stating that the development of a literate environment can positively influence people’s motivation to (re-)engage in literacy and learning how they can practice their newly-acquired skills in their daily activities to reach sustainable skills levels.
“More importantly, in today’s world, we are fixated and influenced largely by the increasing use of technology and digital devices that we have become complacent and reluctant in reading cultural stories passed on to us by our forefathers and generation which can result in the loss of our identities,” she added.
The highlight of the event was the reading by the three winners of the competition and the recital of Bangladesh poems by ReLA youth.
Head of missions and representatives from Kuwait, Canada, Iran, Vietnam, Turkey, Timor-Leste, Lao, India, Pakistan, Japan, Oman, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia as well as members of the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam and ReLA were in attendance.