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Testing of Chinese as a 2nd tongue standardized

(Global Times)

08:21, June 08, 2012

In an effort to enhance the country's soft power and improve teaching standards for Chinese as a second language, the Chinese Language Proficiency Test Research and Development Center was launched in North China's Tianjin Municipality yesterday.

The center aims to construct an overall language testing system and further promote Putonghua, China's official language, Li Weihong, deputy minister of education, said yesterday. The center will be administered by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Students of Chinese will be able to study and be given standardized tests in four disciplines of tourism, speaking, writing and public speaking. The standardized tests will be developed and implemented by the center after they are approved by the country's Standardization Administration.

The State Language Commission under the MOE approved tests in November last year, which are now being examined to ensure they meet national standards. The tests are expected to be offered later this year, said Zhao Deyun, an official with the National Spoken Chinese Proficiency Test Commission.

The new center is part of the Tianjin Language Training and Testing Center, where the international Chinese proficiency test for non-native speakers, known as HKC, was developed in 2010.

The HKC was approved as a national standard in February last year and has been given in over 10 countries and regions, as well as in municipalities and provinces such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Fujian.

"The new center is set up to map out a variety of test standards for different age groups and different occupations," Zhao told the Global Times.

"It is likely that listening, speaking, reading and writing skills of the Chinese language will be tested separately and in accordance with national standards," Zhao added.

"Soft power competition between nations has become fiercer than ever and the Chinese language has huge potential," said the MOE's Li.

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