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China Daily Website

Emphasis on English misplaced

Updated: 2013-08-21 10:00
( China Daily)

From December, colleges will not have cloze tests for English in a bid to change the existing sentence translation and paragraph translation system. But the crucial question is: How to reform the English syllabus in colleges and lessen students' obsession with English? says an article in Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

A good knowledge of English is certainly important in today's world because it is the most widely used language across the globe. But the emphasis on learning the English language seems to be misplaced.

Although education departments and universities have adopted certain measures against cheating in college English tests, the craze for excelling in the language prompts many a student to adopt ingenious methods of cheating.

Students worship English because "mastery" of the language is considered a must for candidates hunting for jobs in today's globalized world. In fact, high scores in English improve the prospects of a candidate in bagging a job. The function of English as a tool of communication has been replaced by its utilitarian use.

To a certain extent, the importance students attach to the study of the English language is a reflection of society's need for a tool of communication in the wider world. But the fact remains that college English tests have turned students into "machines", which is certainly not the original purpose of studying the English language. To lessen students' obsession with English, education authorities have to do more than just reforming the college English test format. Universities have to take strict measures to improve the evaluation system of college English tests. More importantly, relevant departments should take measures to make the study of the English language more rational and practical.