I would like to assure the Member that MOE reviews and enhances the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) regularly. Arising from the recommendations made by the MTL Review Committee in 2010, we have been making steady progress in implementing measures to strengthen the motivation and proficiency of our students in learning the MTL.

We have re-designed instructional materials and improved teaching approaches to focus more strongly on interactive skills using authentic contexts to make learning as real as possible for students. Through the use of more authentic resources that students come across regularly in their daily lives, such as advertisements, online articles and video clips, students can become more active users of the language. By engaging students in more interactive activities, such as group discussions, debates, and role-plays, our teachers have also injected more fun into learning and helped students to hone their communication skills.

We have also made greater use of technology to make the learning of the language more authentic, collaborative and personalised. For example, we have developed the iMTL Portal for students to engage in authentic and collaborative language tasks, such as commenting on a news video and giving feedback to each other’s oral presentation. Students can even practise reading of certain passages at home with the portal and receive instant feedback from the speech evaluation engine on their narration. However, MOE recognises that efforts by schools alone are insufficient to make the Mother Tongue Languages a living language. We have thus been working with parents and community partners to provide a more immersive environment outside school that is conducive to the learning of MTL.

For example, our schools organise the Mother Tongue Fortnights annually, in collaboration with community organisations and stakeholders. During the Mother Tongue Fortnights, a variety of cultural activities are organised to stimulate students’ interest in the mother tongue and help them to learn in novel and exciting ways.

We have also set up the three MTL Promotion Committees to help garner the support of the community in promoting the teaching and learning of MTL beyond schools. By reaching out to more than 100,000 people each year, the activities of the MTL committees have helped to ensure that MTL remains a living language for students outside schools.

MOE and schools also collaborate with external organisations such as Singapore Press Holdings, National Library Board, National Heritage Board and clan associations to conduct a variety of programmes to help students apply their MTL skills in fun and meaningful ways. For example, we have a programme with National Heritage Board that prepares students to serve as museum guides, so that they can make use of their mother tongue to helping student visitors appreciate more fully the museum exhibits.

MOE will continue to review and improve approaches to the teaching and learning of mother tongue to ensure that our students remain motivated and proficient in learning the language.