Rush to learn English fuels quality issues

13:36, August 05, 2010      

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Li Yang (left), founder of the Crazy English learning course, taught students and their parents English-learning methods in Dongguan, Guangdong province, on Jan 3 last year. (Photo: China Daily)
"Extravagant" is the adjective that most people used after learning that Yao Wanchen, 27, spent 42,000 yuan ($6,200) on a one-and-a-half year English training program just to improve her English.

But Yao does not think so, and neither do countless trainees in many English-training schools and institutes around China.

"I think greatly improving my English is well worth the investment. I am in charge of foreign trade for our company and most of my customers are foreigners. Excellent English is very necessary for me," said Yao, an employee from the international trade branch of the China Animal Husbandry Group.

Like Yao, many people in China, from 4-year-olds to senior citizens, are enthusiastic to study English.

That enthusiasm also promotes the development of English-related industries, such as English bookstores, books, videos and magazines. Many English-training schools and institutes have sprung up as well.

China Education Daily recently reported that as of July, more than 400 million Chinese are studying English, accounting for about one-third of China's population. Experts predict that in just a few years, the number of English-speaking Chinese will outnumber the populations of all English-speaking countries in the world, combined.

Many Chinese people speak a few English words while talking with others. Some young people do that deliberately to show they are fashionable and modern.

Experts say the reason Chinese people are attracted to English isn't because of the language itself, but for its huge communication role worldwide.

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