Mother Tongue Languages Symposium (MTLS) 2021

The Mother Tongue Languages Symposium (MTLS) is an annual flagship event organized by the Ministry of Education in Singapore and the Mother Tongue Language Learning and Promotion Committees. Its aim is to connect parents and educators with language education experts, giving new insights on motivating students to learn their ‘mother tongues’.

For its 10th anniversary in 2021, ‘Our Mother Tongues as Living Languages’ was the theme as the event went hybrid for the second time, deepening its connection with the community.



Comprising both online and offline components, the event’s target audience ranged from pre-school to secondary students, as well as parents, educators and MTL academics. As a result, ease of navigation was a major consideration in the design of the event’s online platform. The platform also incorporated gamification, a rewards system and interactive tools to make learning experiences fun, especially for very young users. Additionally, all physical components of the event, including ceremonies and panel discussions, were to be livestreamed on the digital platform.


The team led the full event production and on-site management at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, with areas of responsibility including the live opening ceremony, award ceremony, panel discussions, sharing sessions and workshops. Throughout, the team ensured a stringent application of all relevant COVID-19 measures:

  • Visitor attendance limited to 50 persons
  • Temperature screening at all entrances and registration booths
  • Hand sanitisers available in all areas
  • Equipping each crew member with travel-sized hand sanitiser and two masks at all times
  • Floor markings to aid social distancing
  • Disinfecting and wipe-down after each session

As an expression of the event’s theme, the team conceptualised four MTLS mascots – ‘explorers of the heartlands’ – to symbolise the multiple languages spoken in multiracial, multicultural Singapore.

During the event, participants could use the digital platform to access more than 30 recorded and live e-sharing sessions. For Gen Alpha visitors between the ages of four and nine, the team created a gamified ‘online quest mode’ in the form of a story-based interactive digital game. Featuring a 360-degree panorama of Singapore’s ‘heartland’ neighbourhoods, it could be played in a choice of available languages, with a voiceover enabling players to learn by listening.

Another notable component of the online platform was a digital exhibition. Serving as a community learning resource, it featured more than 40 e-posters on the MOE integrated curriculum, pre-schools, primary and secondary schools, and community partners.


The 10th edition of MTLS was regarded as a resounding success:

  • More than 8,000 users recorded
  • Average of eight minutes ‘dwell time’ per session, with average of five pages per session per user
  • More than 80,000 page views
  • High statistical rate of 85% new users identified during the event


“On behalf of the MTLS 2021 Organising Committee, allow me to express our appreciation of the Pico’s team professionalism and high-quality work. Their willingness to make running changes and overall commitment to making the event a success has left a deep and lasting impression

- Ong Chuxian, Senior Curriculum Planning Officer, Curriculum Planning and Development Division 1, Ministry of Education