SINGAPORE: The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism is supporting 10 proposals to develop learning resources amounting to S$1.6 million.
The money will go towards funding bilingual books, songs and teaching aids for pre—school children.
Ten recipients of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, including organisations and individuals, will work on books, songs and software with a local context.
One of them is Mr Gary Goh, Director of Doby Studio.
Publisher Doby Studio will be working on bilingual picture books in English and Chinese.
Mr Gary Goh, Director of Doby Studio, said: "One story idea that we have is a story about teaching values of cleanliness. It’s a story about a pigeon that is in a hawker centre, and the pigeon would be eating food on the ground and food on the tables and through that, we want to teach children about healthy living and as part of a side track, we can also teach children about the importance of returning trays in hawker centre."
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Sim Ann comments on the development of bilingualism in children.
She said: "We’re seeding the development of a range of teaching and learning resources that will have a very unique local flavour and I think this will help us ground our children I think in local settings even as they acquire capabilities in both English as well as their Mother Tongue language.
"We think it makes a lot of sense because when it comes to young learners in particular, when the books that they’re reading or the songs that they’re hearing, when it’s about people, places and scenes that they can relate to on an everyday basis, I think it makes the process of learning so much closer and I think a lot more applicable, so words, phrases that they pick up can be used on an everyday basis very quickly.
Mr Randy Ang, Chief Financial Officer of EyePower Games, said his company will produce bilingual digital storybooks in Malay and Tamil, which allow children to fully immerse themselves in the storytelling.
"We do work very closely with the Malay language centre and Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre and we realised that it’s a very under—served market as not many interactive IT resources that is available for teaching and learning," he said.
He said the stories will be set in a local context that brings out the flavour of the Malay and Indian communities.
Mr Ang added: "For example, we’ve been working with one of the stories for the STELLAR books, ’When My Baby Sister Came Home’. So actually it’s more of a local context where the Malay baby girl is being brought home to the family and then you involve the Malay family home and then how they actually interact with the grandfather, the father and the auntie from the neighbour itself."
Other recipients of the fund include production house Dua M, songwriter Richard Wan Kum Wah, writer Loh Lik Lin who writes under her pen name Shekinah Linn, non—profit charitable organisation National Book Development Council of Singapore, the National Library Board, Institute of Technical Education, SEED Institute, Singapore Centre for Chinese Library.
Since the start of the fund, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has received some 90 proposals, and these were reviewed by a panel comprising MOE staff, academics and educators. The proposals were then evaluated based on five criteria, chief of which are relevance and impact.
The fund was first announced at the launch of former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s book ’My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey’.
To date, the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism has received S$119 million in pledges, including a one—for—one matching donation from the government, capped at S$50 million.
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