Finance Bank will provide 150 boxes at a cost of US$26,000, while Professional Insurance will buy 115 boxes worthy US$20,700 to be distributed to selected government primary schools in Eastern, Western, Northern, Muchinga, Luapula and Central provinces.
Maiden Publishing company has pledged to provide books at a 15 per cent discount.
The boxes will contain reading books in both vernacular and English to improve the reading culture among primary schoolgoing children.
Finance Bank Zambia chief executive officer, Barkat Ali, told the media on Monday that his bank would continue supporting programmes under education, health, water and sanitation to the underprivileged in the communities.
“FBZ is aware of the challenges faced by most of our rural communities in accessing appropriate learning tools and imparting knowledge in the children,” Ali said.
He said it was the bank’s desire to complement government’s efforts in enhancing literacy levels in the country.
Education permanent secretary, Chishimba Nkosha, observes that the levels of reading were very low among Zambian children in schools.
“The 2012 Read to Succeed baseline study on early-grade reading revealed that 89 per cent of grade two learners and 80 per cent of grade three learners cannot read, which calls for concerted efforts to encourage the reading culture in children,” he said.
In a speech read for him by director of open and distance education, Athanasius Mulenga, Nkosha said if learners could not read, it was difficult to perform well in all subjects across the curriculum, and that it would be difficult for them to cope with their livelihoods.
He said government would continue to use the open-door policy of working with the private sector.
Speaking earlier, chief of party of USAID’s ‘Read to Succeed’ project Dr Tassel Zewbie said pupils not only need books, but a variety of books.
“The provision of additional reading materials requires participation of all stakeholders: parents, communities, individuals and the private sector,” he said.