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English cannot be ignored

China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-20 07:17

The suggestions of Zhang Shuhua and Huang Dekuan, both members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, coincided at a panel discussion of the First Session of the 12th CPPCC. They said excessive stress on English courses would have serious consequences on the quality of education in the country. But we should not make the teaching of English a nationalistic issue, says an article in Nanfang Daily. Excerpts:

The reason why people want to curb the stress on English is because most of the students, who spend years studying it, may not use it for the rest of their life.

But then more than one-third of the world's population speaks English and an overwhelming majority of scientific information is available only in English. The rapid popularization of English can be attributed to its use as a tool for communication worldwide. Since using English as a communication tool and cultural self-reliance are not contradictory concepts, there is no reason to make it a nationalistic issue.

The focus of teaching English as a language, however, should be on developing better communication skills of students. At present, driven by the exam-oriented education system, what most domestic students learn is a form of English that has little practical value.

The importance of English as a language cannot be doubted.

But the excessive emphasis given to it is not conducive to fulfilling its ultimate purpose of serving as a global communication tool.

As an emerging developing country, China is fast integrating into the world economy but lacks global talents with global vision and competent management skills.

So students should be taught English in a way that will help them access all the necessary information available in English and develop those skills.

(China Daily 03/20/2013 page9)

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