$11.6m boost for mother-tongue teaching

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 July, 1998, 12:00am

An $11.6 million support centre will help teachers adjust to using Chinese in classrooms.

The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research has approved the creation of the centre at the University of Hong Kong to smooth the switch from English to Chinese-medium teaching.

Most secondary schools are required to use Chinese as the teaching medium, starting from Form One, in September. Only 114 schools, whose students and teachers were assessed as capable of using English, are exempt.

The new funding has been announced as tens of thousands of Primary Six students are waiting to be informed on Friday which secondary schools they have been allocated by the Education Department.

Many parents have been anxiously awaiting the results, hoping their children will be accepted at one of the English-medium schools.

Standing committee chairman Dr Daniel Tse Chi-wai said yesterday the support centre would help boost mother-tongue teaching.

'It breaks new ground in Hong Kong as it will cater to the needs of teachers teaching academic subjects at the junior secondary level in the Chinese medium,' Dr Tse said.

It will also assess the major concerns of teachers switching to Chinese medium. The centre is expected to be in operation by January, offering a consultation service to teachers after school hours and an on-line database covering teaching and testing materials in seven subjects.

The standing committee also said it had received an 'encouraging' 240 applications from schools for one-off grants to organise school-based English programmes.