Bookworms, you’ll be delighted by one of the latest laws issued in the UAE.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, decreed this week that reading should be a right, and a habit, in the country.
The ruler has implemented a first-of-its-kind law which is full of programmes to ensure residents develop and nurture a love of the written word.
Sheikh Khalifa said that the law aims to boost the UAE’s image as an example for the region, and to “prepare generations that work for a brighter future”.
‘Since [the UAE’s] inception it has recognised the importance of knowledge, science and culture, and harnessed them in the best interests of the homeland and Emiratis,” he said.
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Under this law, the government will provide something delightfully called a “Knowledge Briefcase” to families with newborn babies.
There’s no details yet of exactly what this will contain, but we’re envisioning a lot of children’s books.
What else does the law do?
Well, it grants employees a dedicated time for specialised reading during working hours, and it exempts reading materials from fees and taxes.
It also insists that coffee shops at malls must offer reading material for their customers.
Schools will be obliged to encourage reading among their students, and the private sector will be incentivised to invest in libraries and the like.
The law has been welcomed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who hailed it as “an unprecedented cultural and legislative initiative”.
هدفنا أن يكون عام 2016 هو بداية لتغيير ثقافي وحضاري مستدام بين أجيالنا.. تغيير يرسخ قيمة الكتاب ويمجد العلم والمعرفة ويُعلي شأن القراءة pic.twitter.com/82phCa8X3d
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) October 31, 2016
“Reading material will be exempted from any fees or taxes for the purposes of distribution, publishing and printing,” the royal revealed on Twitter. “The law offers support for the publishing sector, and also provides facilities for authors and editors.”
Sheikh Mohammed also stated that unwanted books should not be destroyed, but preserved, reused or donated.
“We seek to promote reading and knowledge in schools, universities, foundations, homes and across the state,” he said. “Our goal is to make reading a daily habit for the people and competent institutions should translate the law into reality.”
Or in short, this law is just another reason to be proud to live in the UAE…