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English loses ground in China

According to the Bangkok Post, Chinese parents are worried about the impact cutting back on English lessons will have on their children.

In response to a directive issued in July from the Chinese government, paid-for extracurricular tuition is now prohibited, as are foreign curriculums and classes taught by overseas foreigners. While these restrictions weren’t aimed specifically at English language learning, it is a subject that has been hit hard. VIPKid, a Beijing startup that had almost 90,000 teachers based in the US and Canada on its books, as well as nearly a million Chinese students, is no longer offering English lessons. Further, parents have noticed a drop in the number of English classes being offered in primary schools, as China promotes nationalism. To this end, according to the Bangkok Post, students in Shanghai will no longer sit an English proficiency test at the end of their schooling and Xu Jin, of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a national political advisory group, questioned whether English should remain a core subject in primary and junior schools, or be compulsory for university entrance.

“Many parents, who deem English an important tool to help you connect with the world, are figuring out solutions to offset the impact,” Stella Zou, whose daughter’s school English classes went from four a week to three this year, told the Bangkok Post. Her daughter also took online English lessons, but these have been cancelled. In an effort to offset the reduction in instruction, Stella is trying to teach her daughter English herself.

“We live in a fourth-tier county, where children’s education depends heavily on the public school system,” says Yuan Jie, a mother of a 10-year-old in a remote area of Sichuan. “My son’s English classes have been cut from three a week to two this semester. I’m so worried that he will lose the edge in future competition with his peers in big cities, but I don’t know what to do.”

 

 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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