At the last meeting, the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) endorsed a $2.5 million budget over three years to support a total of 500 Putonghua teachers to upgrade their standard of Putonghua.
Qualified Putonghua teachers will be given subsidised funding equivalent to 50% of the course fee, with a maximum of not more than $5,000 per teacher.
"We have invited 13 universities and non-profit making educational bodies to submit course proposals for the Putonghua Summer Immersion Courses," said the Chairman of SCOLAR, Dr Daniel Tse Chi-wai.
Out of 14 course proposals submitted by nine institutions, four institutions in Hong Kong have been selected to provide courses in collaboration with their Mainland counterparts. These are the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong, the Xianggang Putonghua Yanxishe Ltd. and the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Ltd.
So far, a total of 366 teachers have applied for the courses. From July this year, about 180 teachers will be given funding to attend Immersion Courses in Beijing during the summer vacation. Teachers who cannot secure places this year may try again next year.
"We are pleased to note that the Scheme has had an overwhelming response," said Dr Tse.
"As for using Putonghua to learn the Chinese language in schools, we plan to research the Chinese and Putonghua language abilities of students who learn the Chinese Language through Putonghua," he added.
Members also noted the progress of the Workplace English Campaign and the commencement today of Phase II of the Funding Scheme for Workplace English Training.