Increasingly, faculties are organising residential camps and workshops to entice students to speciality subjects The summer holidays are a great opportunity for school students to venture into the haunts of higher learning to get a first taste of university life. An increasing number of university faculties are running workshops and even residential camps in order to entice future students to their particular subjects. Applications for some campus-based summer activities began in April, but places are still available for both primary and secondary students in subjects from languages to science and architecture. Primary students will benefit from various university offers. A total of 104 will take part in the five-day 'Super Summer 2004' to be held at Baptist University beginning on July 19, which includes lessons in artificial intelligence, drama, sports and joining an outdoor camp on Lantau Island. Co-ordinator Dennis Chu Hon-wing said the programme was aimed at developing students' creativity, and abilities to plan and express themselves. 'We will teach them some basic skills in artificial intelligence, but then they need to explore ways to achieve the tasks on their own. In drama, they will have to think of how to express ideas by making different sounds, facial expressions and gestures,' said Mr Chu, a researcher in child development. There is also the option of residential camps that give students an idea of dormitory life. About 180 will attend the three-day Mathematics Summer Camp 2004 at HKBU organised by the Department of Mathematics and the Third Arts Faculty Summer Camp for Secondary School Students (2004) organised by its arts faculty, both in mid-July. Dr Siu Wai-chee, of the Department of Mathematics, said the maths programme was intended to raise students' interest in learning the subject. Part of the itinerary will include talks and mathematics games. The Oscar-winning movie, A Beautiful Mind, based on the life of maths genius John Nash, will be screened one evening. About 150 Form Four students have signed up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's Language Centre to prepare for the English language exam in next year's Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Associate dean of HKUST's School of Science, Cheng Shiu-yuen, said schools had been supportive of the summer activities. 'Compared with a few years ago, more departments are offering them as a way to broaden students' horizons. Students should not be learning from books alone but should have wide exposure. The activities can also raise their level of curiosity. Those who want to go on to university can establish contact and possibly a support network.' Some have already had this opportunity. Last month 14 Form Seven students took part in the first 'A week in the Life of an Electrical Engineer' camp at Polytechnic University's Department of Electrical Engineering. PolyU staff are also venturing into school, with academics from six faculties delivering mini-lectures in secondary schools.