Singapore to set up Centre for Chinese Language

Singapore to set up Centre for Chinese Language

Thursday, 04 September 2008


Leveraging on Singapore's unique bilingual environment for the teaching and learning of the Chinese Language (CL), a centre will be established to focus on the training and development of CL teachers. The National Institute of Education (NIE) will work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to set up the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language (SCCL) by mid 2009.

Vision of SCCL

The Centre will bring together resources from the education sector, academia and the community to position Singapore as a centre of excellence for the training and development of CL teachers catering to a wide range of learners, including those from non Chinese-speaking backgrounds. 

For a start, SCCL will focus on the needs of local CL teachers through the provision of structured in-service programmes and professional development courses. The Centre will also function as a "test-bed" for innovative ideas on pedagogy and learning activities, and establish itself as a knowledge hub in the teaching of CL.  

In the medium term, SCCL will extend its services to cover the pre-school segment and overseas CL teachers. It aims to build up a brand name in the region, as an authority in the teaching of CL in a bilingual environment. In the longer term, it aims to export its expertise, by providing consultancy and offering training to CL teachers from the region and beyond.

"Having implemented many decades of bilingual policy, Singapore has accumulated invaluable and unique experience in the teaching and learning of the Chinese Language predominantly as a second language. Indeed, Singapore is well-positioned to be an international centre of excellence for the teaching and learning of Chinese Language. For a start, we would like to see the Centre playing a key role in the professional development of our teachers, we are confident that SCCL will be able to cater to learners from a variety of backgrounds including those from non-Chinese speaking environments in the region," said Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of National Development.

The SCCL Leadership 

The SCCL will have a Board of Directors headed by Mr Robin Hu, Executive Vice President of Chinese Newspapers Division, Singapore Press Holdings. Mr Hu's wealth of experience, having helmed positions in both the public and private sectors, will greatly benefit the Centre in growing its capabilities and building its standing as a centre of excellence for the teaching of CL. SMS Grace Fu will serve as the Advisor to the SCCL Board which will provide strategic direction and oversight on the development, management and administration of the Centre. The SCCL Board will comprise individuals from industry, academia, and government, including representatives from MOE, NIE, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director of SCCL will be Dr Chin Chee Kuen and Dr Tan Chee Lay respectively, both of whom are Assistant Professors at NIE's Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

The write-ups on Mr Robin Hu, Dr Chin and Dr Tan are at Annexe A.       

Programmes at SCCL  

From mid-2009, CL teachers can look forward to attending a range of in-service courses and programmes offered at SCCL. SCCL will provide courses in areas such as pedagogies for teaching Chinese as a second language, language proficiency, Chinese cultural knowledge, linguistics, child language development, curriculum development and evaluation, school-based educational research and the use of information communication technology in language teaching. In addition, SCCL will engage in practitioner-based research that is aligned with the needs of CL learning in schools, so as to develop quality content for future teacher training. SCCL aims to train 25% of in-service CL teachers in its first year, and to reach out to all in-service CL teachers by the fifth year.

The Centre will also explore opportunities to partner the people sector such as the Chinese clan or business associations to organise public education programmes, seminars and conferences to promote the learning of CL and appreciation of Chinese culture among the community.     

SCCL Operations

Recruitment of key personnel and academic staff for SCCL will commence from late 2008. The academic staff will work closely with teachers in our national schools to develop practitioner-based research.

The SCCL will operate from an interim site located at Ghim Moh Primary School during its first three years of operation.   

The launch of SCCL was unveiled by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his opening address at the Lianhe Zaobao 85th Anniversary Gala Dinner on 6 September 08.