The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) has invited applications for projects to improve language proficiency. It is the fifth call for applications since the Language Fund was established in 1994. Committee chairman Daniel Tse Chi-wai said the fund had since supported 110 projects and awarded grants of more than $140 million. Dr Tse said the criteria that would be used to allocate funds had changed from previous years. Dr Tse said priority in this round of funding would be given to primary language education including pre-school education. The meeting also decided on a list of research titles for applications which will address issues raised in the Education Commission Report No 6. The research projects will focus on four areas of language education - primary language acquisition, the relationship between Putonghua and the Chinese language subject, students' ability to study in English at tertiary level, and the use of multi-media technology in language learning, Dr Tse said. The projects will be further divided into 14 topics. Eight of them relate to English language and six to Chinese language. 'As well as Chinese and English languages, the committee also attaches great importance to Putonghua,' Dr Nancy Lee See-heung, spokesperson for the committee said. The findings of these research projects allows SCOLAR to advise the Government on the future direction of language and in implementing education policy. 'Several of the projects have been put into practice,' Dr Lee said. 'For instance, some books are published and some CD-Rom are released. 'Activities such as summer camps and summer courses are introduced as well.' Applications can be submitted until June 30. Application forms are available at the SCOLAR Support Unit in Central Government Offices. SCOLAR will also stage an exhibition on May 31 and June 1 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to display the result of past language fund projects. 'The public will be able to experience first-hand innovative ways of learning language through our board displays, seminars and hands-on experience corners,' Dr Tse explained.