EDUCATION workers will be considering ways to improve the teaching of Chinese and English in the light of the proposal for a $300-million language fund. Mr Patten said he saw the need for better Chinese, including Putonghua, because of the growing links with the mainland, and for better English to meet the needs of the international business community. The money would be used to upgrade the skills of language teachers who have been criticised for being below standard. In suggesting the creation of the fund, he surprised educationalists because a similar idea proposed by the Government was dropped about 10 years ago. The first stage of the new plan would be to upgrade the skills of language teachers. The Curriculum Development Council is to hold a meeting on Monday to review the language syllabus and find ways of improving the existing teaching system. Chief executive of the Curriculum Development Institute, Dr Pang King-chee, said they would conduct seminars with teachers to discuss ways of increasing efficiency in teaching languages. Another commitment was $114 million to almost double the number of computers for secondary school students from fewer than 5,000 to more than 9,000 next year. This would enable every student taking computer training to have their own terminal. In a move to enhance teaching standards, Mr Patten pledged to accelerate the provision of teachers. At least 1,636 teachers would be needed by next September, comprising 800 graduate secondary school teachers and 836 non-graduate primary teachers. This would mean an extra one or two graduate teachers for every secondary school in the territory, plus further staff for all schools with a high proportion of Band Five students. Mr Patten also suggested upgrading about 860 primary school teaching posts to graduate level, 300 more than was recommended in the Education Commission Report No 5. The change would mean a pay rise of between $2,000 and $5,800 for degree-holder primary teachers at present on non-graduate salary levels. However, progress on the development of part-time Bachelor degrees for primary teachers promised in Mr Patten's policy speech last year had been delayed. This was because the Government was still undecided as to which tertiary institution should be responsible for developing the part-time degree course. The modernisation of 60 primary and 50 secondary schools with a $600-million School Improvement Programme over the next two years, promised by Mr Patten, was expected to minimise the need for floating classes in secondary schools. An injection of an extra $42 million for the Kindergarten Fee Remission Scheme should benefit a total of 20,000 over the next four years. While educationalists saw the policy address on education as better than last year's, they criticised the fact that there was no mention of where the extra teachers would come from. Vice-president of the Professional Teachers' Union, Au Pak-kuen, and the secretary for the Hong Kong Association for Continuing Education, Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, criticised Mr Patten for ignoring education at the tertiary level.