Following months of activities for students, training in drama and sharing of experience in learning Putonghua will be the highlights of the Putonghua Festival 2006 organised by the Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) again this year.
Speaking at the launch of the Putonghua Festival 2006 today (24 September), Ms Lau Siu-ling, Member of SCOLAR and Member of the Organising Committee for the festival, said SCOLAR's annual large-scale Putonghua Festival provided a diversified, enjoyable and flexible learning environment for students outside the classroom as well as created an atmosphere for the public to learn the language.
She said, "Putonghua is commonly used in schools and in the community these days – students have been receiving proper training in Putonghua since it became one of the core subjects in primary and secondary schools in the 1997/98 school year. Many teachers have upgraded their Putonghua proficiency by joining immersion courses sponsored by the Language Fund, and many in the working population have learnt the language through various channels as well."
"With the increasing importance of Putonghua in the world, mastering the language would certainly open up more opportunities for us," she added.
The Putonghua Festival 2006 will feature a series of activities organised by RTHK and targeting students including the Carnival for the Putonghua Broadcasting Programme for Primary 4 to Secondary 7 students; the School Training – Learning Putonghua through Music that tours schools to combine music and Putonghua learning; the Putonghua Debate Camp that encourages exchange of views among secondary and post-secondary students; as well as the Inter-varsity Putonghua Debating Competition 2006 and the Putonghua Competition (Hong Kong, Macau & Guangdong) – Hong Kong Region.
In view of students' encouraging response to drama activities, SCOLAR has also invited the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre to stage a drama seminar/workshop and a drama appreciation event for this year's Putonghua Festival for teachers to learn more about how to make use of drama performances in Putonghua teaching and learning.
For the wider community, the festival will also include a TV programme series, featuring success stories of guests from all walks of life in Putonghua learning. It will be broadcast on TVB Jade Channel at 7:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday between 30 October and 10 November.
More public activities will be organised during the festival including a sharing session with outstanding schools and students in promoting Putonghua on 21 October, a Putonghua Carnival performed by artists and students on 29 October and a Putonghua Drama Marathon featuring nine-hour non-stop drama performances by students on 12 November.
Details of the Putonghua Festival 2006 activities are available on the SCOLAR website at http://www.language-education.com.
Other officiating guests attending today's launch ceremony included Ms Junia Ho, Member of SCOLAR and Member of Putonghua Festival 2006 Organising Committee; Mr Tai Keen-man, Assistant Director of Broadcasting; Miss Miriam Yeung, Putonghua Festival Ambassador; Mr Linus Cheung, Chairman of HKU School of Professional & Continuing Education Board of Directors; Mr Qian Gang, a renowned author from the Mainland and Co-Director of China Media Project, Journalism and Media Studies Centre, the University of Hong Kong; and Mr Karl Lau, Deputy General Secretary, The Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong.
Since 2002, SCOLAR has been organising annual large-scale programmes to encourage the use and practice of Putonghua. So far, over 40 activities were organised, involving 280 000 participants.
Established in 1996, SCOLAR advises the Government on language education issues and the use of the Language Fund.