Dubai fifth-grader comes top in UAE Arab Reading Challenge

Mezna Najeeb, 10, beat 455,000 pupils from the Emirates

Mezna Najeeb, second from the right, won the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge
Mezna Najeeb, second from the right, won the 2019 Arab Reading Challenge

A fifth-grader from Dubai has won the national round of the fourth international Arab Reading Challenge.

Mezna Najeeb, 10, from Al Ebdaa Model School, beat 455,000 other UAE students from 1,412 public and private schools.

The reading challenge was launched in 2015 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

The aim was to encourage one million students from across the region to read 50 books in one academic year.

Writing on Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed congratulated Mezna, saying her talents were a cause for great optimism.

“Congratulations to Mezna Najeeb, my daughter, who won the UAE Arab Reading Challenge among 455,000 participants from more than 1,400 public and private schools in the country,” he said.

“With you, Mezna, and Arab pupils like you, we are optimistic that the future will be more beautiful.”

The annual competition is open to anyone in the Mena region, as well as Arabs living abroad, who are aged between 8 and 18. Pupils are tested on their understanding of the texts during the contest.

In its first year, 3.5 million people took part in the tournament, rising to more than 7.4 million pupils in 2016.

Last year, the event was opened up to Arab expatriates for the first time. This year, students from 49 countries took part. National winners of the competition will go head-to-head in a grand final.

“In our fast-paced world, today is different from yesterday, and we are aware that tomorrow brings new challenges,” said Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, during the awards ceremony.

“If we want to stay ahead in the rapidly-changing world we live in, we must read and continue reading.

“We read to develop our minds, to imagine and to gain new skills that can help us build a better future for the UAE."

Mezna's mother told The National that she was overjoyed by her daughter's success.

“I feel very proud of her, she made us all happy today,” said Brewin Mohammed. “Mezna started reading at the age of five.

“It’s a dream came true for her. It will encourage her to read more and develop her writing skills as she loves to write short stories.”

Updated: July 10, 2019 06:41 PM


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