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Singapore website promotes mother tongues

The Ministry of Education in Singapore has launched a new website to promote the learning of the country’s mother tongue languages, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, in response to the rising interest in English on the peninsula.

The iMTL Portal seeks to reinvigorate interest in Singapore's mother tonguesThe iMTL Portal seeks to reinvigorate interest in Singapore's mother tongues

74.2% of residents are of Chinese descent, 13.4% of Malay and 9.2% of Indian

The iMTL Portal, which offers interactive learning to 7-18 year olds, will help students benefit from Singapore’s bi-cultural society, giving them an edge in an increasingly globalised world while strengthening their roots.

“We know that curiosity and fun motivates one to learn, and also sustains learning. This rule of thumb applies to all learning subjects including our mother tongue languages,” Senior parliamentary secretary for education and law, Sim Ann, said last week.

The bi-cultural exposure will give children a competitive edge globally

“This is particularly relevant in light of our diverse language environment, where more and more of our children come from English-speaking households.”

According to the 2009 census, 74.2% of Singapore’s residents were of Chinese descent, 13.4% Malay, and 9.2% Indian. However, Malay speakers make up just 14.1% of the population and Tamil speakers 3.2%, with a majority speaking Mandarin (35%) and English (23%) – the latter an increasingly popular choice. The constitution is written in English as well as all laws, and it is the language for all business interactions.

The portal, which was launched at the Mother Tongue Language Symposium, August 25, will seek to reinvigorate interest in mother tongues by appealing to Singapore’s web savvy youth. It offers interactive content to improve listening, reading comprehension and ability to speak and write in mother tongues.

Students can also get personalised feedback on homework submissions through audio clips, text files, rubrics or Facebook ‘like’s. The iMTL Portal site will be introduced to all schools in phases from 2013.

For a video on the site click here

 

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