LKY fund to sponsor five more bilingualism projects

LKY fund to sponsor five more bilingualism projects

A movie about a boy learning Chinese opera, a weekly Tamil publication and Chinese nursery rhymes are among the five latest projects sponsored by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

The fund, which was set up by former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2011, supports teaching and learning of English and mother tongue languages at pre-school level.

Through one project, children can look forward to reciting and singing from a book containing 30 Chinese nursery rhymes later this year.

Saintly Education Centre, the language centre behind the effort, plans to distribute the books to childcare centres and kindergartens.

The centre's assistant supervisor, Mr Terrence Liu, said the project had come about because there was not much local material to let children brush up on Chinese at a young age.

"There are storybooks or books with illustrations, but these are usually imported from other countries. So we wanted to come up with something local," he said.

So the nursery rhymes developed by the centre's tutors will be inspired by elements of Singapore's culture, like food, transport, places of interest and housing.

Another project coming up later this year is an eight-page Tamil supplement to be published every Tuesday, along with the Singapore Press Holdings' Indian publication Tamil Murasu.

The publication, called Balar Murasu (Children's Supplement) will contain stories for children, pictures, artwork and games.

Said the newspaper's editor Jawharilal Rajendran: "We're hoping that teachers, parents and even grandparents can use it to help pre-schoolers in their learning of written Tamil, so they have the basics before going to primary school."

And to expose children to different cultures, media production company Brainchild Pictures is developing a movie about an Indian boy who teams up with his friends to take part in a Chinese opera competition.

So far, 22 projects have been supported by the fund, which has received over 150 proposals.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that the fund is "seeing good progress in its efforts to encourage bilingual teaching and learning at the pre-school level".

"We have added more teaching and learning resources for use in pre-school centres and at home," said Mr Heng. "The fund will continue to support proposals that create a positive impact in engaging children in language teaching and learning".

This article was published on April 18 in The Straits Times.

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