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English education in China

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2016-12-26 07:43

Important moments for English learning in China over the past four decades:

1978: English became one of the subjects tested in the gaokao, the national college entrance exam, which resumed in 1977. English learning has gained in importance ever since.

1982: Follow Me!, a television program made by the BBC that provided a crash course in English learning, was broadcast on China Central Television and attracted large audiences. Viewers learned by following conversations and imitating pronunciation.

1987: College English Test Band 4 was launched in China's institutions of higher education. Two years later, College English Test Band 6 was also introduced. To encourage language learning, some colleges and universities even stipulated that those failing the tests would not be able to obtain their bachelor's degrees.

1990s: Young Chinese began heading overseas to study in greater numbers. As many families could not afford the tuition fees, students had to work hard to win scholarships by scoring well in tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the International English Language Testing System and the Graduate Record Examinations.

2000s: Organizations providing English tutorial classes began to spring up, catering to the needs of language learners in a wide range of age groups. Some agencies offering these courses, such as New Oriental, became giants in the language learning industry.

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