Union Budget 2023: A National Digital Library for children and adolescents will be set up for facilitating the availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels, and device agnostic accessibility, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced Wednesday. In her Budget speech, she said states will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the National Digital Library resources.
To build a culture of reading and to make up for pandemic-time learning loss, the National Book Trust, Children’s Book Trust and other sources will be encouraged to provide and replenish non-curricular titles in regional languages and English to these physical libraries. “Collaboration with NGOs that work in literacy will also be a part of this initiative. To inculcate financial literacy, financial sector regulators and organizations will be encouraged to provide age-appropriate reading material to these libraries,” Sitharaman said.
The proposal has been welcomed by stakeholders in the education sector. According to Tanvi Miglani, spokesperson of the HLM Group of Institutions, setting up a National Digital Library is a great policy measure to make learning resources available in various subjects for children and adolescents on a consolidated digital platform.
“It will bolster the accessibility of study materials and build a strong reading culture among students. Skill-based learning has also been given a stimulus through the announcements of instituting multi-disciplinary courses for upskilling students and professionals for adept use of futuristic medical technologies,” she said.
Anshu Mittal, the principal of MRG School, Rohini, said setting up the digital library to facilitate books and learning materials from different genres will help students cope with the learning loss they suffered during the pandemic. “The measures to ensure age-appropriate reading material will help people take up studies that they left due to societal reasons. Promoting financial literacy from a younger age will also benefit students in the long run,” she said.
Her thoughts were echoed by Pooja Bose, the principal of Pacific World School, who said that encouraging students to learn English and regional languages in partnership with non-governmental organisations will improve their understanding of culture and regional concepts.”Initiatives to ensure age-appropriate reading material will encourage people to resume studies that they abandoned due to societal factors,” she said.
According to Divya Jain, the director of The Class of One, the digital library will help kids cope with the learning loss caused by the pandemic. “These libraries can be conveniently accessed by learners of every region. Also, physical libraries will be set up, providing proper infrastructure to the learners where they have access to reading material from different genres, including languages, geography, and subjects of different levels,” she said.