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September 12, 2013

China

Call to reduce English lessons to ‘save’ Chinese

chinese-child-studying.jpgWhile urban China is rapidly internationalizing, one former official thinks teaching kids English is doing more harm than good.

A former senior education official has triggered heated debate after he publicly denounced the teaching of English to young children and called for more classes on Chinese traditional culture.

Wang Xuming, a former spokesman of the Education Ministry and now president of Language and Culture Press, wrote on his verified Sina microblog account that China should abolish English classes in primary schools and commercial English schools for children. Instead, it should increase the number of classes on guoxue, or national study, which refers to the study of Chinese traditional culture.

"[We should] free the children and save the Chinese language," he wrote.

In 2002, the Ministry of Education ordered primary schools across the country to teach English classes, starting from the age of nine in the third grade, but it is now common for first-graders to have English classes.

Wang, who boasts more than 1.8 million followers of his microblog, said he proposed more lessons on guoxue because the quality of Chinese-language textbooks and examination results were so weak, while English-language teaching materials and performance results were strong.

Read the full article from The South China Morning Post.

Photo: Reuters

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