Singapore: Proposal for more reading materials in bilingual languages for children

Proposals have been invited in Singapore for development of more books in bilingual languages for children. Photo courtesy : bilingualism

Singapore is a land of diversity where people of different races and religions live together harmoniously. To acquaint Singaporean children with this symbiotic culture and gain mastery over mother tongue languages, the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism has started a call for proposals for the development of more books in mother tongue languages featuring local elements.

These reading materials are aimed at children from Kindergarten 1 to Primary 4.

The fund said it “would like the content to be set in the Singapore context and feature local elements that will allow children to better relate to the story.”

Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, speaking on the sidelines of a school visit to Princess Elizabeth Primary School, said “We hope to contextualise the language (for it) to come alive for the kids, into the everyday aspects of Singapore life. It could be culture, or food, or other things that are relevant to the kids, so that they will be interested.” 

Bilingual books will not only help students know more about Singaporean culture but also improve their reading habits. Photo courtesy : Mumabroad

Madam T. Poongkudi, a Tamil language teacher at Princess Elizabeth Primary School in Singapore, welcomes the move and said that such books will not only help students know more about local culture but also improve their reading. This, in turn, will help improve their command of the language.

The fund’s programme director, Madam Cheryl Tan, said there was a lack of such reading books — both in stepped levels of difficulty, and in the local context — in mother tongue languages here. 

The reading books — targeted for both home and school usage — could also come with additional tools such as audio packs, and downloadable worksheets, she added.

Parties interested in the call for proposals for the reading books can submit their expressions of interest to the fund at http://www.bilingualism.sg/call-for-proposals/call-for-proposals.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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