A TOTAL of $7 million a year will be spent training 1,000 Putonghua teachers under a plan to introduce the language to all schools by 1998. The plan aims to prepare students for life after the changeover. In addition, a framework for civic education will be set up by next September to give students a better knowledge of the Basic Law and China's social and political systems. Director of Education Lam Woon-kwong said yesterday that $7 million of the $10 million set aside annually for expanding Putonghua teaching would be used to train 1,000 teachers a year to ensure there would be enough instructors. Part of the remaining sum will be used to develop a new curriculum for Primary One to Form Five. Putonghua is at present only an option for Primary Four to Form Three students. Mr Lam said officials would discuss with the Institute of Education whether it could expand its in-service and pre-service courses. The institute trains between 360 and 400 Putonghua teachers a year. 'If it cannot provide all the training needed, we have to seek other channels as well,' Mr Lam said. Although 3,377 Putonghua teachers were trained by last February, some may no longer be teaching in schools offering the subject or be in the profession. Putonghua was offered in 619 of the 1,400 primary and secondary schools as an optional subject in the past academic year. The new Putonghua curriculum will be introduced as an independent subject for Primary One, Form One and Form Four students in September 1998. All students will have a chance to learn Putonghua by 2000 when the language is introduced into the Form Five public examination - the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Mr Lam also revealed a plan yesterday to set up a central school place allocation team to help the increasing number of young mainland immigrants to find a school. He said the team, to be set up early next year, would help students find a school outside their residential district if they could not find one near their home. Asked if schools could refuse to take immigrant children referred by the department, Mr Lam said: 'The Director of Education has the power to require schools to admit students.' But he said he had not exercised the power despite a recent survey which found some young immigrants had been rejected by schools.