Formation of Board to Manage the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism
A 16-member Board, chaired by Minister for Education, Mr Heng Swee Keat, will administer the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism and spearhead initiatives to support the teaching and learning of English and Mother Tongue Languages, especially at the pre-school level. The Board members comprises community representatives, academics, experienced practitioners, media representatives, and public service officers. Please see Annex A for the list of Board members.
To support the work of the Fund, there will be four sub-committees to oversee the areas of research, evaluation of proposals, investment of funds, and publicity and outreach. Please see Annex B for the list of Chairpersons of these sub-committees.
The setting up of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism was announced on 28 November 2011 at the launch of Mr Lee’s book, “My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey”. Government will match the funds raised, 1 for 1, up to $50 million. Many Singaporeans from all walks of life have come forward in support of promoting bilingualism.
The Fund has received S$113 million in pledges (including government’s matching grant). The Board thanks all donors for their generous contributions and Mr Lee for raising funds for this cause. Please refer to Annex C for the list of major contributors. Details for those interested in donating to the cause are in Annex D.
Mr Heng said, “Since the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism was announced in November, the community has been very supportive of the objectives of the Fund. I am very heartened by the generous donations received. The Board and the various sub-committees will study how the funds can be used to achieve the greatest impact. I am confident that we can raise the quality of teaching and learning of mother tongue languages in pre-schools and help our children develop a love for bilingual learning. But beyond preschools, language is also nurtured through day-to-day communications with parents at home, and exposure to educational media programmes. We will thus leverage on the various programmes and initiatives currently organised by the various mother tongue language promotion committees and multiply the impact of these existing efforts”.
Bilingual education in English and the Mother Tongue Languages is a cornerstone of our education system. Learning two languages helps Singaporeans plug into a globalised world while nurturing links to our Asian heritage and the growing economic significance of Asia. The Fund will supplement efforts by the Ministry of Education in the teaching and learning of English and the Mother Tongue Languages, amidst changes in the home language environment.