The Commission on Youth recently approved 82 applications for sponsorship under the Community Participation Scheme for Organising Study Tours to the Mainland. The $6 million in sponsorship has been funded equally by the Government and the General Chinese Charities Fund. The first tours left earlier this month and there will be many more in the summer. The programme will be completed by January 15, 1999. The tours will help local students' understanding of the mainland and its history and culture as well as its political, economic and social systems. A spokesman for the commission said, 'We have received more than 200 offers of funds. 'The total has exceeded $30 million. This is very encouraging,' the spokesman said. 'It shows that many organisations are keen to help activities that benefit youth development.' It is estimated that 4,000 young people will take part in the programme. Successful applicants are required to submit a report to the commission after the tour.