Mother Tongue Languages at a glance
What is it
Mother Tongue Language (MTL) is offered in Singapore schools as a second language. It is a compulsory subject.
There are 3 official MTLs:
Why it is important
- Communicate more effectively in MTL.
- Appreciate their cultural heritage.
- Connect with wider communities across Asia and the world.
Who is it for
All students in Singapore primary schools.
How it works
- Students of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicities will study their own MTLs.
- Students who are Eurasian, of mixed parentage and whose mother tongue is not one of the official MTLs can request to study any of them subject to approval.
- Non-Tamil speaking students of Indian ethnicity can apply to study Non-Tamil Indian Language (Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi or Urdu). These language classes are not provided by MOE and are usually conducted outside of school premises and hours. You can refer to the Board for the Teaching and Testing of South Asian Languages’ website for more information.
Mother Tongue Languages in school
The Chinese Language curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, writing and interaction skills. It is tailored to your child’s abilities and offered in the following modules:
- Core module: for all primary school students.
- Bridging module: if your child needs more help in the language.
- Enrichment module: if your child has a higher aptitude for learning the language.
The Malay Language curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, writing and interaction skills. Your child can progress to different levels of proficiency, depending on interest and abilities.
The Tamil Language curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, writing and interaction skills.
At the end of Primary 4, your child’s school will recommend the subject combination that is most suitable for them in Primary 5.
Based on your child’s MTL results, these subjects may include Higher Mother Tongue Language in one of the official languages.