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INDIA: Literary festival increases youth reading

Sacred Heart College holds literary festival reaching 50,000 people


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Sacred Heart College, located in Tirupattur in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, hosted a literary festival in collaboration with the District Administration of Tirupattur. It was presided over by Amar Kushwaha, from the District Collector of Tirupattur, and Jeyamohan, an Indian author, who gave the inaugural talk.

The festival featured 60 book shops with thousands of books available for exhibition and sale. The festival aimed to create interest in reading for people in the community with a focus on teachers and students. Every day during the festival, three writers gave presentations to the students about different aspects and concerns regarding the literary style of writing. More than 50,000 people benefited from the literary festival.

Father Joseph Carreno, a Salesian missionary from Spain founded Sacred Heart College in 1951. Opening with 10 teachers and 81 students, it has grown into a postgraduate and research institution, offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses. In 2000, Sacred Heart College initiated evening study centers for poor students in different villages around Tirupattur. The students were provided with work-based scholarships to help them pay for tuition and room and board.

“A new book in the hands of a student opens him or her up to the opportunities that are available through education,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “An entire festival focused on the importance or reading and literature challenges students and teachers to expand their imaginations and learn new skills.”

Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued in India. The country, which is home to 1.34 billion people (18 percent of the world’s population), will have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country by 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. While India has the world’s largest youth population, it has yet to capitalize on this, leaving some 30 percent of this population without employment, education or training.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



Photo courtesy of Don Bosco India

Don Bosco India – Literary Festival at Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur

Sacred Heart College

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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