Lawmaker urges removing English from national test

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/6 22:23:39

A lawmaker suggested at the ongoing session of the National People's Congress that the country should cancel English in the national college entrance examinations, or gaokao, as primary and middle school students have to spend too much time on it.

Li Guangyu, director of Yuhua Education Group, proposed that China should cancel English test in gaokao and change it from a compulsory course to an optional one,, a news portal run by the Communist Youth League Central Committee, reported on Sunday.

Based in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, the education group claims on its official website that it is the country's largest private education group owning 25 prestigious primary schools, high schools and universities, with nearly 50,000 students.

Li said that students in primary and high schools spend too much time on learning English.

"Based on the calculation that every student spends eight hours on study, nearly one-fifth of their most beautiful 10 years will be spent on English," Li noted.

Moreover, Li said that statistics from the Ministry of education showed that China has over 163 million primary and high school students. If each student on average spends 1,000 yuan ($145) on studying English, it would cost 163 billion yuan, Li added.

However, the budget for launching a Shenzhou spacecraft is about 800 million yuan. Therefore, the money Chinese students spend on studying English annually is equal to launching 204 Shenzhou spacecrafts, Li estimated.

His proposal has triggered heated debates online.

Yu Minhong, a national political advisor and chairman of New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc, said that "it will be a rushed, even reckless, decision to cancel the English test" as learning English is no longer something decided by a country, but a necessity for China's globalization."

Yu told the China Youth Daily that even in countries in Europe or in the US, students still need to take a second language test, which means that "the world is not isolated anymore and learning English is good for students."

Yu suggested that the country could lower the difficulty of English test instead of canceling it.

In 2013, the Beijing education commission released a draft to gather public opinion in which the grade of the English test was cut from 150 to 100 while that of the Chinese test was raised to 180 from the original 150.


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