Teaching and learning two languages is affected by social and cultural developments, Minister of State for Education, and Communications and Information, Sim Ann said on Friday.
In Singapore, for instance, more are speaking English rather than their mother tongue languages at home and "this has resulted in varying levels of proficiencies and abilities among our students in their mother tongues when compared to students of the past," she said.
She was speaking at the East Asia Summit conference on bilingualism, which was attended by some 200 policy-makers and educators from the 18 EAS participating countries. This included the 10 Asean countries as well as China, Japan and Australia.
The conference saw international language experts talk about language initiatives in their local contexts and discuss how learning second languages can be more effective. It is co-organised by the Ministries of Education of Singapore and China, in partnership with the National Institute of Education and the Beijing Foreign Studies University.