ADOPTING the mother tongue as the medium of instruction does not mean English will be neglected nor does it suggest a decline in the standard of the language. The Director of Education, Mr Dominic Wong Shing-wah, was anxious to clear a widespread misunderstanding among parents and students arising from his announcement of the Medium of Instruction Grouping Assessment for Secondary One Students. The scheme will be implemented this September. Students entering Form One in September through the Secondary School Places Allocation system will be categorised into three groups according to their ability to learn in Chinese or English. The grouping is based on students' internal examination results in the second term of Primary Five and the first term of Primary Six. It was revealed that 33 per cent of students could be classified in the first group as being able to learn effectively in either Chinese or English. Sixty per cent fell into the second group, for students who would learn more effectively in Chinese. The third group or the remaining seven per cent were seen as being able to learn better studying in Chinese, but would probably also be able to learn effectively in English. Parents of Primary Six pupils would be given information about their children's language proficiency in terms of the three groupings. Being aware of their children's language ability would help parents make the appropriate decision. The Education Department will also give parents a leaflet that explains the grouping and gives a list of secondary schools and their medium of instruction. In turn, schools will receive information on the language performance over the previous five years of each of their Form One intakes, as a reference for choosing the appropriate teaching medium. While many parents are concerned that adopting Chinese as the teaching medium may result in a fall in the English standard, Mr Wong stressed that this was a misunderstanding. ''They are two separate issues,'' he said. ''Adopting English as the medium of instruction does not necessarily mean that students learn better English.'' Schools adopting mother tongue education will receive additional resources, including extra teachers in English, extra teaching equipment, and a special library grant ($16,000) towards more effective language teaching. Mr Wong said research and studies confirmed that use of the mother tongue as the teaching medium had a definite advantage in learning and teaching. The Education Department policy would be to encourage secondary schools to use mother tongue as the teaching medium but allow schools to exercise their discretion in language choice. ''The successful implementation of mother tongue learning needs the support of schools, teachers, parents and the community,'' Mr Wong said. ''I call on all concerned to accept the advantages of mother tongue learning in order to help improve the quality of education in Hong Kong for the benefit of a large number of young people.''