The government has been accused of neglecting the importance of Chinese language learning as debate over the definition of the mother tongue in education has not been included in the consultation on medium of instruction. Yao Te-hwai, chairman of the Chinese Language Society of Hong Kong, said the Education Commission's consultation paper did not give Putonghua its rightful place as a possible teaching language. 'We are finding the wrong use of jargon by the authority regrettable,' he said. 'Apart from Cantonese, there are also mother tongues from other areas of our country. 'In Hong Kong the definition of mother tongue is Cantonese but, if we use the world definition, it should be Putonghua.' While the definition of mother tongue remained unclear in the consultation report, a recent study by the Primary Chinese Language Education Research Association had confirmed that Putonghua was the most effective medium for Chinese language learning. In the five-year study, two classes of primary pupils learnt Chinese in Putonghua and Cantonese respectively from the same teacher. It was found that the Putonghua group outperformed the Cantonese group in vocabulary, comprehension, writing, listening and speaking. Nelson Lau Chi-keung, head of the Subsidised Primary Schools Council, said the issue of Putonghua as an option for medium of instruction should have been discussed in the consultation paper. The government had also failed to provide enough resources for Putonghua teaching in schools, he added. 'Though the government advocated biliteracy and trilingualism, it is spending very little on Chinese language learning,' he said. 'We have extra resources to employ native English speakers. But the same thing never happens to Chinese.' His school, the Tai Po Old Market Public School, starts teaching Chinese in Putonghua to Primary One students this September. However, with no extra funding or professional support, it has only limited funds for designing the curriculum and teaching materials, he said.