Impressive theatrical performances and singing, all in English, by primary students marked the opening of English Festival 2006 today (2 April).
First launched by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) in 2005, the English Festival returns this year with seven school-based activities and two TV programme series.
At the Kick-off and Ambassador Inauguration Ceremony, Mr Stephen S. K. Chan, SCOLAR Member cum Chairman of the English Festival's Organising Committee, said this year's activities well covered the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking.
"Some of these are activities making a comeback after last year's success, while others are new ideas brought to the scene," he said.
"We also have the unprecedented support from both local terrestrial TV broadcasters to produce TV programmes about English learning and promotion of English reading during the festival," he added.
The festival activities were introduced to the public at today's ceremony with some previews including a short play excerpted from Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" by primary students in full costume and singing of some classical English folk songs by kids. Some associate degree students also demonstrated how to learn English through games.
The audience was highly impressed by these young performers' mastery of the English language. They also witnessed the appointment of three aspiring young artistes, Eman Lam and Ellen Joyce Loo of at17 and Chet Lam, as English Festival 2006 Ambassadors at the ceremony.
Funded by Language Fund, the English Festival aims to raise public interest in the learning and use of English. The seven school-based activities to be held this year include Photo Stories – "Through My Eyes" which encourages primary students' creative writing; English Debate Competition and Workshop 2006 which promotes debating; English Survivor Competition which combines learning and games; Little School Bags – Folk Songs Sing Along which brings the three international languages of English, music and drawing together; as well as three series of drama performances and workshops, namely "Interacting" in Hong Kong – A Theatrical Learning Experience, Shakespeare-rama: The Merchant of Venice and Singing English with Fun.
For the wider community, the festival has commissioned the Asia Television Limited for the first time to produce a TV programme titled "A Bookworm's Choice" to promote English reading.
Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) will also produce a new season of the festival's popular TV series, "One-minute English", to teach thematic English, such as English in sports, English in cooking.
"One-minute English" will be on air starting tomorrow (3 April) on TVB Jade Channel at 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, while "A Bookworm's Choice" will be broadcast on ATV Home Channel at 3:45 p.m. on every Tuesday and Thursday between 6 April and 25 May.
More details of the English Festival 2006 are available on the SCOLAR website at http://www.language-education.com.
Established in 1996, SCOLAR advises the Government on language education issues and the use of the Language Fund.