Giving less weight to English tests is first step in reform
It is reported that education authorities in Beijing, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces want to raise the value of Chinese by shifting points from English to Chinese in college and senior high school entrance exams from 2016. While they vary in content and scale, it is notable that these mooted reforms share something in common: whittling down English as a tested subject and reducing its weight in overall admissions test scores. Why the Change
Gaokao is a prerequisite for entering almost all higher education institutions at the undergraduate level in China. After China reinstituted the gaokao system in 1977, English was soon ranked in the scope of basic courses, having the same status as Chinese and mathematics.
English education and training has been given extensive attention. Chinese students, who start to learn English even from kindergarten, might have invested the most time learning English of non-English-speaking countries.
Time to cool down nationwide English mania
Learning English has already become "too much of a good thing." English education and training has become institutionalized, forcing Chinese people to learn by rote for the sole purpose of passing various exams. Its constructive significance of enlightening and activating the minds of Chinese people has been largely ignored. Read more
China's English fervor under scrutiny
In China, English is among three compulsory "major subjects," along with Chinese and mathematics, given equal importance in major exams. It is perhaps the most influential subject, considering the ubiquity of its exams and the gigantic market it has generated.Read more
Teachers, students divided over Gaokao reform plan
Students "A drop in the overall scores of English examination means that our English studying workload will shrink, which is good news to many of us"
Teachers "For many students who are not interested in English, it's unnecessary for them to spend much time studying it, and for those who have a passion for English, they can study it in college." --Liu Wei, an English teacher at the High School Affiliated to Beijing University of Chemical Technology
"Students now are spending too much time studying English. In fact, not all of them will or would like to go abroad. On the other hand, their native language is being used in every aspect of their life and work, so it's important for all Chinese students to learn their native language well." --Hu Ruiwen, a member of the National Education Advisory Committee
Students "We may no longer work hard on English, which may have an adverse effect if we choose to have an English major or study abroad in the future.”
"Students who are good at English may be reluctant to hear the news because they are losing their edge in gaokao."
Teachers"I don't think a rise in the total points of Chinese will encourage students to improve their application ability in Chinese. Instead, it will only make the students endeavor to score higher in the Chinese examinations." --Xiong Bingqi, vice-president of the 21st Century Education Research Institute.
"The change in the exam doesn't mean that English is not important anymore.English teachers now can pay more attention to encouraging students to love English, and lifting their practical ability in using English" – a teacher surnamed Li, High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University.
Market for English courses surges
Today, China is the largest exporter of students, accounting for 14 percent of the world's total, according to a report jointly released last year by the Center for China and Globalization and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Read more
College students face tougher English tests
Undergraduates may face tougher exams before obtaining certificates from the National College English Test, a prerequisite for those entering the job market or applying for higher education.Read more
Publisher: No English lesson for kids
Wang Xuming, former spokesman for the Ministry of Education，called for abolishing English education for elementary students and enhanced content of Chinese in the curriculum. Read more