Teachers wanted in scheme to help needy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 December, 2004, 12:00am

A final push is under way to recruit teachers for a $1.4 million language training programme for some of Hong Kong's most disadvantaged children.

Charity Po Leung Kuk is setting up English and Putonghua language classes and storytelling sessions for 300 children in its care homes with support from the Foreign Correspondents' Club Charity Fund.

The FCC raised more than $660,000 at its annual charity ball in September for the programme, which aims to give children extra support to ensure they become bi-literate in English and Chinese and tri-lingual in English, Cantonese and Putonghua.

The Po Leung Kuk board added $500,000, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation in New York donated a further $390,000, and Golden Accord (Asia) has donated laptop computers for the classes, which are due to start in February.

Six teachers have been appointed for the 12 posts available and the FCC is now advertising through expat community networks and the Chinese press to secure the rest.

Alan Olsen, of the FCC grants and scholarships committee, said: 'We are networking in the expat communities ... to bring in the talented language teachers we want for a programme that is going to do so much for Hong Kong.'

Applicants must have qualified teacher status and a language qualification, and undergo stringent checks to ensure they are suitable to work with vulnerable children.

Some volunteers, including young people aged under 16, will be able to work as assistants.

Bridget Yu Chan Yai-ping, Po Leung Kuk's assistant principal social service secretary said: 'We are not excluding the contribution of young people but we can't cope at this moment with too many.'

The FCC charity fund seeks further sponsorship to extend the programme to children aged 10 to 18.