Schools are being encouraged to participate in the Multimedia Educational Materials Design Competition', which is aimed at promoting the use of information technology (IT) in education. The competition is part of the $1 million 'Classrooms of the 21st Century Scheme' jointly organised by the Education Department, the Lions Club of Metropolitan Hong Kong and Lions Club of Castle Peak. It was launched on November 21, last year to encourage and assist teachers in using IT as a tool to further improve the quality of education in the classroom. The closing date for entry is February 27 (Friday). According to the Education Department, the design of multimedia educational materials will help make teaching more lively and improve the quality of teaching. Winners of the two top prizes will be awarded a free trip to see the use and promotion of IT in teaching and learning in Australia or the United States. The department will select appropriate designs from among the winning entries for further development. The creativity of the design will be promoted in primary and secondary schools. A department spokesman said prize winners would be required to assist in the development and promotion works. Activities including competition, exhibition, workshops and TV programmes extend over a period of six months. A series of three-minute TV programmes, which interviewed Education Department officers, school principals, teachers, parents and students, stress the importance and popularity of IT in daily living and explain the Government's IT policy in education. The programme will be screened on Sunday at 7.30 pm on TVB-Jade. A more elaborate TV programme on IT in education will be broadcast on February 27 (Friday) in TVB-Jade's Enjoy Yourself Tonight which will also feature plays and games. The department said a total of 405 nominations were received from schools to participate in the 'Workshop on Classrooms of the 21st Century Scheme' which is being run until March 20 in six classes. The workshops are expected to help teachers to equip themselves with the necessary IT skills to design creative teaching materials. An exhibition on IT in education will be conducted on April 25 (Saturday) and April 26 (Sunday) from 9 am to 5 pm at Hong Kong Industrial Technology Centre, 72 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong. The IT projects from the prize winners of the Multimedia Educational Materials Design Competition, schools and educational institutes will be displayed.