On the advice of the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR), the Director of Education, who is the Trustee of the Language Fund has approved funds totalling $14.82 million for the first batch of 59 projects from the sixth call for applications to the Fund.
A total of 369 applications were submitted during the sixth call from March to April this year.
"All these projects meet the criteria set by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research for allocation of the Language Fund. They should be immensely helpful in raising standards in Chinese, including Putonghua, and English of our students," said the Chairman of SCOLAR, Dr Daniel Tse Chi-wai.
Of the 59 language projects recommended by SCOLAR, 35 are Chinese (including Putonghua) projects and 24 are English ones. Seventeen of the approved projects, which are English language projects undertaken by Chinese-medium schools, fall within SCOLAR's high priority area in the sixth call. These projects aim to increase secondary students' exposure to the English language and their interest in learning English through extra-curricular activities, literature reading, interaction with native-speakers and other innovative school-based activities.
Language learning activities, such as reading and writing programmes, the publication of magazines and booklets, constitute the largest area for which funding was approved. Other funded projects involve the development of language teaching and learning resources, organisation of teacher training programmes and the setting up of a multi-media language laboratory.
Most of the school-based projects which seek to commence in the summer or the coming school year have been considered by SCOLAR. Fifty-five per cent or 94 per cent of the first batch of approved projects are initiated by schools.
Processing of the remaining applications, including priority research projects, received during the sixth call will continue and further announcements on successful applications will be made in due course.
Commenting on the quality and variety of the project designs and the experience and expertise of project leaders, Dr Tse said members were satisfied that bottom-up initiatives from schools were playing an important role in raising language proficiency in Hong Kong.
"SCOLAR will closely monitor the progress of project implementation and work in conjunction with project leaders on the dissemination of the outcomes arising from these meaningful undertakings," he added.
The total number of projects supported by the Language Fund to date is 201, involving grants amounting to $190.41 million.