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January 14, 2003

China Crazy For English

With the Olympics coming to Beijing in 2008, China is currently caught up in an English craze. This weekend the Sydney Morning Herald reported on the trend that is exemplified by the official "Beijing Speaks English Program", which aims to have 400,000 fluent English speakers in the city by the start of the games. With a stipulation that activities should be "popular, practical, mass-participating and entertaining", they've taken quite a different approach to that of the Japanese. The response has been huge, with thousands of people lining up from early morning for lectures, festivals and speaking and singing contests. This is in addition to the much-publicized nationwide Crazy English program, whose latest venture is a 10-hour-a-day, 12-day English "concentration camp." The report also mentions that the minimum income that you can expect if you join the 2,000 or so registered native teachers in China is about 8,000 yuan ($1,000) a month for 20 hours teaching a week.

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