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Professor Gu Yueguo Pro-Vice Chancellor of Beijing Foreign Studies University Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences


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Title: Professor Gu Yueguo Pro-Vice Chancellor of Beijing Foreign Studies University Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Professor Gu Yueguo Pro-Vice Chancellor of
Beijing Foreign Studies UniversityMember of the
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
ELL in China Past, Present and Future
  • GU Yueguo
  • The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Beijing Foreign Studies University

  • ?????
  • One knows more by reviewing the past !
  • ---- Confucius

Main Headings
  1. ELL in China the Past (up to 1949)
  2. ELL in China the Present (1949-2009)
  3. ELL in China the Future
  4. ELL Some logistics

  • ELL in China
  • From Late Qin Dynasty to 1949

Provisions of Education
  • Three systems were operating in parallel
  • Traditional schools and colleges ( ??, shuyuan)
  • New schools (??, xuetang), and universities
  • Missionary schools and universities

Traditional Schools and Colleges
  1. Classical curriculum
  2. Learning of Confucianism
  3. Civil servant examination
  4. Anti-Western learning
  5. Orthodox and wide popularity until the civil
    servant exam was abolished in the last few years
    of Qin Dynasty.

New Schools and Universities
  1. New schools, some coming from the reformed
    old-style traditional schools
  2. New universities (e.g. ?????, now Peking
    U,??????, i.e. now Tianjing U.)
  3. Supported by reform-minded officials
  4. English was the primary FL being taught
  5. In the early years, foreign language schools were
    set up to train interpreters and translators
  6. In the later schools and universities, FL was the
    compulsory subject.

Missionary Schools and Universities
  1. Missionary schools up to 1914, reaching about
    4000 (charity)
  2. Universities about 13 or more
  3. English was the compulsory subject to be taught
    and learned

The Republic (1911-1949)
  1. New national curriculum to produce citizens of a
    republic, not subjects of an emperor
  2. Traditional curriculum abolished
  3. Confucianism no longer taught
  4. Junior, senior middle schools and universities
  5. FL (EL the most important) was compulsory

Look at with hindsight -- 1
  1. English was taught either from the outside, or
    from the top, but not from the bottom
  2. English had never been taught for the sake of the
    language, but remained instrumental to all the
    parties involved
  3. A fundamental change occurred to the status of
    English after the national curriculum reform in
    the late Qin and the early Republic. It became an
    academic subject to be learned, at least during
    the school or university years.
  4. Individual learners were generally not motivated
    by themselves to learn English.

Look at with hindsight -- 2
  • Tensions always had existed between
  • Chinese and foreign
  • Chinese learning and Western learning
  • ELL at the primary and ELL at the secondary
  • ELL at the junior and ELL at the senior
  • English as both an academic subject and as an
    instructional medium.

  • ELL in China
  • From 1949 to the Present

An Outline
  1. Chronically speaking 1949 to 1966 1966-1976
    1978- 2009
  2. ELL in the primary and secondary education
  3. ELL in the tertiary education
  4. ELL and mass media
  5. ELL and globalization

Chronically speaking
  • This period (1949-1966) witnessed
  • Primacy English to Russian, and back to English
  • The Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)
  • The period 1978 up to the present
  • English as the primary FL well established
  • This reflects the impact the political atmosphere
    has on FL in China.

ELL in Primary and Secondary Education
FL (Russian or English)
  • In the early years of New China, national
    curriculum kept being revised over when FL should
    be taught
  • Throughout the secondary education
  • Starting from Grade 3
  • Only during the senior middle school

English Replacing Russian
  1. NC (1959) Junior English back again
  2. English for Primary Education (1962)
    experimental in good schools
  3. By 1963, English in practice replaced Russian as
    the most taught FL

ELL and Foreign Language Schools
  1. Foreign language schools starting from 1958
  2. By 1965, there had been 14 foreign language

ELL and Teacher Training
  1. NC (1978) from Grade 3 all the way to the Senior
    Middle School in practice, only the Senior
  2. Teacher training for JMS and SMS in 1983 the
    British Council Projects (personally involved)

The latest debate (in Chinese way)
  1. The junior vs. senior more or less settled ---
  2. Grade 3 depends on local conditions
  3. Pre-school children should they start learning
    English? No authority has ever said yes. But the
    impetus is building up from the bottom, and
    reinforced by the invisible market force,
    particularly by the publishers, and profit-driven
    training programmes.
  4. This triggers a question raised by some skeptics
    of whether it is worthwhile learning English in
    the first place.

ELL in Tertiary Education
Two General Divides
  1. English as major
  2. English as non-major --- now officially known as
    College English

English as Major the latest trend
  1. In the past English as Major Language and
  2. Now English (as language) plus appears as a
    general trend.
  3. In other words, English is becoming an
    instructional medium.
  4. Qualified staff is in big demand.

English as Non-Major
  • Curriculum debated for a decade
  • Literacy vs. oracy
  • Core English vs. ESP
  • Two years or four years
  • Are the time and efforts worthwhile?
  • Oversized classes --- what to do?

ELL and Technology
  1. English as Non-Major --- the majority of
  2. Shortage of qualified staff
  3. CALL considered to be a viable supplement
  4. Nearly all colleges and universities are required
    to have some sort of CALL component in ELT

ELL and Globalization
  1. Joint ventures
  2. Tourism
  3. Overseas investments
  4. International exchange programmes
  5. All these create a massive demand for in-service

Studies overseas
  1. From 1982 to the early 1990s --- selected and
    sent by the State authorities
  2. Since 2000, students privately paid increased
  3. The latest trend senior middle school graduates
    choose to have college education abroad.

Test-driven training
  1. Training for TOEFL and IELTS proves to be an
    inexhaustible market
  2. New Oriental is a well-known case
  3. The latest trend college entrance exams such as
    SAT boom, which reflects the trend of SMS
    graduates going to college overseas.

ELL and Mass Media
  1. Mass Media has always been considered to be the
    most cost-effective way to teach FL
  2. Popularization of English owes a great deal to
    mass media.

  • ELL in China
  • the Future

  • There are a wide range of factors, which can be
    grouped into two general groups
  • Visible hand
  • Government policies
  • National curriculum
  • National economy and GDP
  • Invisible hand
  • Market forces
  • Nationalism in joint ventures
  • International environment
  • Groups of interests (e.g. organizations,

Areas of tension
  1. EL in Pre-school
  2. EL in primary education
  3. The way EL is being taught and learned in
    secondary and tertiary educations
  4. EL and its connection with job promotion and
  5. EL and nationalism in joint ventures (Korean
    being required in Korean joint ventures)

Fundamental changes
  1. Individual space and resources privately owned
    have changed beyond imagination
  2. More and more individuals motivation for
    learning English becomes a matter of personal

Intellectually speaking
  1. EL as an academic subject will remain carved in
    the curriculum
  2. EL as a window to the outside world will remain
    open to Chinese intellectuals for ever (e.g.
    access to academic works is wanted by every

Chinese vs. / English in the global context
  • The Chinese language
  • As a medium of social interaction (increasing
  • As a medium of academic works (very limited
    outside China)
  • As a medium of instruction (limited outside
  • As a medium of history (confined to a very few

4ELL Some Logistics
Learners of English
  1. According to a survey in 1999-2000, about 370
    million learned English in one way another
  2. Junior and senior middle school students about
    80 million.

College English Learners
  • Annual intake 5 to 6 million,
  • Two years turn-over 10 to 12 million

Foreign languages currently taught in
ChinaBFSU 46
The latest survey on FL preference
  1. English 88.98
  2. French 5.99
  3. Japanese 5.81
  4. Korean 3.08
  5. German 2.48
  6. Russian 2.06
  7. Spanish 1.74

(No Transcript)
ELL and Education
  • National Curriculum for Middle School (1950) ---
    3 (junior) 4 (senior), for 6 years, Russian or
  • NCMS (1954, 1955), no FL for junior
  • NCMS (1956), English replacing Russian becoming
    the first FL
  • NCMS (1957) English for both Junior and Senior
  • NCMS (1958) English for Senior only.

ELL and Demography
ELL and Career
ELL and National GDP
ELL and Publishing
Any Patterns Emerging?
  • Demand

Tensions and Conflicts of Interest
(No Transcript)
English was taught
  • Robert Morrison (1807) arrived in China.
    According to his memoir, he was allowed to teach
    math and English.
  • Missionary schools, particularly schools for
  • Two distinctive features
  • The Biblical subjects
  • No fees paid, but even providing subsidies.
    (school of charity)

English as instructional language
  • Curriculum English literacy

The Strait of Malacca
(No Transcript)
English was learned
  • ?????(School of Combined Learning, Beijing 1862,
    Shanghai 1863, Guangzhou 1864),English was the
    first subject to be provided
  • The first intake 10 they were virtually bought
    to learn it by the government.

Schools for Foreign Affairs(1866-1898)
  • There were 29 schools founded all over China, the
    primary objective of which was to teach foreign
  • English was the most important of all foreign
    languages taught.

India and China ELT Today21 May 2009
Grahame Bilbow Director of EnglishBritish
Council China
Demand for English Language Services in China
  • April 2009

  • Qualitative research
  • In-depth interviews, conducted face-to-face
  • Each interview up to 30 minutes long
  • 5 interviews with English language teachers, mix
    of schools/universities
  • 5 interviews with leading employers, HR Director
    level or equivalent, mix of national companies
    serving the domestic market only and those who
    are going global, range of sectors
  • Beijing and Shanghai, 13 22 April 2009
  • NOTE care must be taken in interpretation of
    these qualitative results due to the small number
    of interviews

  • Quantitative research
  • Face-to-face interviews
  • Each interview up to 20 minutes long
  • 200 interviews, 50 each with adult learners,
    potential adult learners, parents of young
    learners and parents of potential young learners
  • Chengdu and Qingdao, 18-19 April 2009
  • Comparisons also made with quantitative research
    conducted for the BC in 2007 by United Research
    China (URC) on English Language Teaching Market
  • 1,535 central location test interviews in six
    cities, 1-16 April 2007, adult learners and
    parents of young learners with ELT schools
  • 666 telephone interviews in six cities, 1 April
    9 May 2007, adults learners and parents of young

Desk research sources
  • Report on English Language Teaching Market in
    China by United Research China, for the British
    Council, 2007
  • Social Survey Institute survey 2005
  • Online-education, September 2008
  • Peoples Daily, May 2008 (
  • China Education Investment Institute, December
    2008 (

Overview of the market
A growing market
  • Experts in 2005 predicted an annual growth rate
    of around 15 up to 2010
  • Based on Chinas accession to the WTO, the 2008
    Olympic Games and 2010 Shanghai Expo
  • (note this was before the global economic

Data Source Survey Results Published by Social
Survey Institute of China, 2005
ELT dominated by private institutes
  • Social Survey Institute of China, 2005
  • Approx 50,000 ELT institutes in China
  • China Education Investment, 2008
  • Over 90 are private institutes
  • Universities act as an effective supplementary
  • Solely foreign invested and joint venture
    institutes positioned at high end
  • mainly concentrate on economically developed
    areas and cities open to the outside world, like
    Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzen

Focus on large developed cities
  • China Education Investment, 2008
  • Major markets for ELT in East China, North China
    and South China, particularly in large developed
    cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou
  • Demand increasing quickly, particularly in more
    developed coastal areas

Market dominated by adult learners
The projection of English learner population
between 7-45 years old in six surveyed cities,
total learners aged 7-45 (Unit 1,000)
Beijing 3,814.2, of whom 224.6 7-15
Shanghai 2,047.8, of whom 86.4 7-15
Guangzhou 1,502.1, of whom 124.3 7-15
Shenyang 822.3, of whom 134.7 7-15
Chengdu 1,110.3, of whom 93.2 7-15
Wuhan 902.7, of whom 59.5 7-15
Total 10,199.4, of whom 722.7 7-15
Source China Statistical Yearbooks, 2007
But growth among younger and older learners
  • Peoples Daily, 2008
  • Approx 300 million ELT consumers
  • Mainly aged 20-40
  • Also growth at both ends of age spectrum
    children and older people
  • ELT for children began early 1990s, but still in
    its early stage
  • By end of 2007 there were 350 million children of
    school age so huge market potential
  • Many pre-school training institutes established
    eg EF Small Stars programme
  • Foreign invested institutes expanding in this
  • Growth in older learners particularly for some
    vocational English courses and high-end
    programmes which appeal to students in their 40s

Career advancement key driver of demand
  • Peoples Daily, 2008 key drivers of demand
  • Improve English communications skills,
    particularly in work context, to expand social
    circle and improve career prospects
  • Focus on practical use of English through
    listening and speaking practice
  • Will become the main driving force of market
    demand in the future
  • Prepare for English tests for study abroad or
    enrolment in schools
  • Focus on test techniques rather than practical
    use of English (eg TOEFL, GRE, IELTS and CET 4/6
  • Get professional qualifications, eg oral
    interpretation certificates
  • Again, focus is on test techniques

Three main types programme in terms of cost
High Small of market Developed cities Mainly
foreign invested institutes (eg Wall
Street) Entry level at least 6 programmes,
costing around RMB20,000 Learners are high
income, mainly white collar, mid/senior management
Low Mainstream market Mainly supplementary to
school education Learners are mainly students One
programme costs RMB 100 500
Medium Mainstream market Developed large and
medium cities One programme costs RMB 1,000
4,000 Each class hour costs RMB 20-50
Data Source China Education Investment, 2008
Mainly traditional methods but online growing
Small Class Mainly foreign teachers/text
books Focus on listening and speaking 10-20
students per class
  • Online
  • Still at early stage, but showing fast growth
  • Low cost, cheap, flexible timetable
  • Many online training providers now use Voice
    Interaction Technology so can provide a
    face-to-face learning environment similar to a
    real classroom

Large Class Using self-compiled or
state-recognised text books Local teachers 30-50
students per class Traditional teaching
methods Widely used in test preparation
Computer-aided Combines computer-aided programmes
with lectures delivered by teachers
Data Source China Education Investment, 2008
Some key players
  • New Oriental School
  • Founded 1993
  • 2006 New Oriental Education and Technology Group
    listed on NYSE
  • Services include English and other foreign
    language training, overseas and domestic test
    preparation courses, primary and secondary school
    education, educational content and software and
    online education
  • End of 2008 41 schools, 400 learning centres
    and 6 subsidiaries in 39 cities in China
  • Given 7 million training programmes
  • Test preparation courses are a particular
    strength estimated that nearly 50 of Chinese
    students studying abroad took the NOS course
  • 2008 opened 8 elite learning centres in Beijing
    use multi-media software (DynEd) and aimed at
    professionals and elite entrepreneurs

Some key players
  • Wall Street Institute
  • Entered China in 2000
  • 15 training centres in Beijing, Shanghai,
    Guangzhou and Shenzhen
  • Focuses on ELT to adults
  • Mid/high end positioning
  • Programmes include Introduction to English,
    English Online and Premier English
  • Targets civil servants, managers, and university
  • Has a Corporate English Training Department and
    over 300 corporate clients in China
  • Recently acquired by Pearson

Some key players
  • English First (EF) Education
  • Entered China in 1996
  • 2000 opened language schools in Guangzhou and
    Shanghai, now has schools in 54 cities
  • Adopts Communicative method of English training
    encourages students involvement through
    talking and listening
  • Major programmes include comprehensive English,
    teens/kids English, business English, practical
    English for overseas living/studying and IELTS

Will more study overseas in economic downturn?
  • China Education Investment Peoples Daily,
  • Depreciation of foreign currencies in global
    economic downturn reduces cost of study abroad
  • Speculation that this will result in more
    studying overseas
  • Especially as companies slim down work force and
    it becomes more important to strengthen personal

The market among learners/potential learners
Increased propensity to learn, esp. among young
Do you think you/your child are more likely or
less likely to learn English (outside school)
than you were 6 months ago?
Dont know 2
Less likely
No real difference compared to 6 months ago
More likely
Much more likely
Parent of potential learner 36
Parent of current learner 28
Adult potential learner 22
Adult learner 14
Base All respondents, China (200), parent of
potential learner (50), parent of current learner
(50), adult potential learner (50), adult learner
ELT schools are preferred method for parents
Is your child currently studying English in any
of these ways? Would you like your child to study
English in any of these ways?
Preferred for child/ren
Child/ren currently use
At school
ELT school
Other kind of organisation

Personal teacher for one-to-one tuition
Online training course
None of these
Base All parents, China (113)
Group tuition preferred, but possible unmet
demand for one-to-one tuition
In which of these ways, if any, would you prefer
(your child) to learn English / are you/your
child currently using to learn English (outside
Used by current learners
Top mentions
Group or classroom tuition
Teach Yourself guides text book
Online courses

Teach Yourself guides audio/visual
One-to-one tuition
Base Preferred - All respondents, China (200),
Current All adult learners/parents of current
learner, China (100)
UK ELT would be considered, esp. by parents
And, in the next 2-3 years, how likely is it that
you/your child will study English at a UK English
language learning institute, assuming one was
based in your city?
Dont know
Certain to
Adult learner Potential adult learner 20 12
Parent of current learner Parent of potential learner 54 50
Certain to
Certain not to
Very unlikely
Very likely
Fairly unlikely

2007 URC survey Lower figures 45 said they or their children likely to study in UK ELT institute

Fairly likely
Base All likely to study at an ELT Institute in
the next 2-3 years, China (182) , adult learner
(46), adult potential learner (39), parent of
current learner (49), parent of potential learner
Price key obstacle
Why do you say you/your child would not study at
a UK English language institute?
Top mentions
Too expensive
Learning US English more helpful
Learning a more general form of international
English more helpful
UK has an image of being old-fashioned/not
innovative enough
Learning local English more helpful
Dont know
Base All unlikely to study at a UK ELT in the
next 2-3 years, China (30)
Majority would consider online learning few
certain to
How likely are you to consider learning English
online in the next 2-3 years/choosing an online
English learning course for your child?
Certain to/ Very Likely/Fairly likely
Adult learner Adult potential learner Parent of current learner 62 78 65
Parent of potential learner 62
Dont know
Certain to
Certain not to
Very likely
Very unlikely
Fairly unlikely

2007 URC survey Also showed majority would consider online

Fairly likely
Base All not currently learning English via an
online course, China (195), adult learner (47),
adult potential learner (50), parent of current
learner (48), parent of potential learner (50)
Low access to ELT courses at work
Does your company offer English language training
courses for employees?
Dont know
I am unemployed
Yes (8 out of 100)
I am a student
Courses offered Business (4 out of 8)
Basic (3 out of 8)
Vocational (2 out of 8)
Professional (1 out of 8)
All 8 likely to participate mainly because better geared to their needs All 8 likely to participate mainly because better geared to their needs
Base All current/potential adult learners, China
Type of English important, especially to parents
of potential learners
How important or unimportant to you is the type
of English learnt?
Dont know 2
Not important at all

2007 URC survey 55 thought original country of origin of ELT important Difference in question wording may account for some of the difference between this result and the current results

Very important
Not very important
Fairly important
Adult learner Adult potential learner Parent of current learner Parent of potential learner
Very important 26 26 26 44
Base All respondents, China (200), adult learner
(50), adult potential learner (50), parent of
current learner (50), parent potential learner
US English most popular
Which if any of these different types of English
would you choose to learn/for your child to learn?

2007 URC survey Country of origin of ELT 52 preferred UK, 36 US Suggests preferences changing

Base All respondents, China (200)
Overseas materials generally preferred
When it comes to materials for English language
learning, do you generally
prefer those produced locally or by overseas
organisations or do you have no preference?
Dont know
No preference
Prefer overseas materials
Adult learner Potential adult learner 52 46
Parent of current learner Parent of potential learner 32 42
Base All respondents, China (200), adult learner
(50), adult potential learner (50), parent of
current learner (50), parent potential learner
UK materials the same or better than others
Do you think that materials produced by UK
organisations for English language learning
are generally better or worse than those from
other overseas organisations or are they about
the same?
Dont know
Adult learner/Adult potential learner 25
Parent of current learner/ Parent of potential learner 37
About the same
Base All respondents, China (200), adult
learner/adult potential learner (100), parent of
current learner/parent of potential learner (100)
Quality ease of use are strengths
Why do you say that materials from UK
organisations are better?
Better quality/more reliable
Clearer/easier to use
Prefer UK English
UK materials have a better reputation
Have a generally positive image of the UK
Base All who think materials from UK
organisations are better, China (62)
The market among English language teachers
These findings are based on just 5 qualitative
interviews, so are indicative only
Public sector tied to approved materials
  • Public sector schools and universities
  • Obliged to use the textbook compiled by the local
    Education Commission
  • E-courseware is tied to the text book
  • Eg textbook for West District is New Starting
    Point and the E-courseware is provided by Golden
    Sun Company
  • Additional training exercises also used
  • Ideas coming from journals, newspaper, the
    Internet etc
  • Usually identified via word of mouth among
    teachers circles
  • Usage determined by English department of school

I have no choice in the textbook, which is
forced on us by the local Education Commission.
Current textbooks are better than before,
however, some key points still need to be
highlighted and, as a result, I will prepare some
additional materialsthe E-courseware helps me
prepare some games
More choice of material in private sector
  • Private schools
  • Flexible to choose any material which suits their
    students needs
  • Tend to use textbooks produced overseas
  • More native in terms of thinking and expression
    of language
  • Better for those preparing to study abroad
  • Sourced from Foreign Language Bookstore, Hong
    Kong or original countrys publisher

The materials from English speaking countries
are more true to life than what we make
Public sector textbooks of variable quality
  • Key challenge quality of textbooks
  • Accuracy - compiled and edited by local Chinese,
    resulting in Chinglish
  • Not geared towards practical application of
    English not relevant to students or arouse
    their interests, cannot be applied in everyday

Fundamentally, the textbook we use is produced
by Chinesethere are always cultural differences
and we dont have an English environment in which
students can learn like native speakers
One frequent problem is that students understand
the meaning of some words but find it hard to use
in their life or other contexts besides in the
Need for interesting, practical, up-to-date
  • Interesting to students relevant, able to
    stimulate interest
  • Practically-oriented can easily be applied in
    students real life
  • More video/audio materials
  • Particularly if can be downloaded from Internet
    more up-to-date and flexible in terms of choice
    of topics

How to stimulate students interest is a big
issue. If the resources can resonate with
students, they will be compelled to learn it on
their own
Need to constantly improve their own skills
  • Teachers need to constantly improve their own
  • Maintain their own skills with daily practice
  • Keep up-to-date with changes in current English
  • Keep ahead of their own students, particularly in
    higher level classes

Nowadays, students get knowledge from many
different channels and they can compare with the
school curriculum, so teachers feel easily
challenged if we are not familiar with the latest
language trends and update ourselves
Development opportunities felt to be limited
  • Current opportunities felt to be very limited,
    though an number of examples mentioned
  • Internal seminars for teachers to share
  • Discussion Forum organised by local Education
    Commissions to go through text book and hot
    topics likely to be covered in exams
  • Subscriptions to English journals eg English
    newspapers, China Daily
  • Exchange programmes with overseas universities
  • Some schools encourage teachers to study abroad
    schools typically pay 50 of costs
  • Some private schools use external organisations
    to train teachers

Limited awareness of UK-based organisations
I never heard of any UK-based organisation
providing teaching resources, maybe there are
many, but I am not aware of them
  • British Council high awareness of organisation,
    but no awareness of what it can offer teachers
  • BBC high awareness some university teachers
    use audio clips from its web site for class
  • Publishers only aware of Longman. Dictionary
    well known
  • IELTS high awareness. Seen as passport to study
  • UK universities Aware of Cambridge, Oxford,
    LSE, Warwick. Would search Times ranking of UK
    universities for others
  • Examining and assessment bodies, UK language
    schools, websites no awareness

The market among leading employers
These findings are based on just 5 qualitative
interviews, so are indicative only
English is a must-have for new recruits
  • English seen as a must-have qualification,
    regardless of sector
  • CET 4 and 6 are basic requirements. For some CET
    6 is the minimum requirement for a new employee
  • IELTS, GRE, GMAT and other English certificates
    not required, but a high score will help
    potential employees stand out from the crowd
  • Potential employees also need to pass English
    written and oral tests, designed and administered
  • For jobs which require more regular contact with
    foreigners, only graduates with an English major
    will be considered

My company attaches a high importance to
English. We use a very strict process to screen
their English ability. It is an important
criterion which will show their ability
But on-going ELT often not offered to staff
  • Many do not provide on-going English training or
    assessment for their staff
  • Because recruitment process screens for suitable
    skill level
  • Working language internally is Chinese
  • Training can conflict with workload commitments
  • Overall performance seen as more important

English is not the only way to demonstrate ones
ability if it was, we would recruit all
employees with an English majorthey all pass
examinations so we believe that they do not have
any problem to use English in their job. We
review their performance, but not their English
In general, a day release course will last for
1-3 months, and it means the staff cannot work
during that period.
Confirmed by quantitative research, just one in
ten learners/potential learners in employment
said their company offered such training
Limited awareness of UK-based organisations
  • Only two mentioned as possible UK providers
  • EF
  • Felt to be well known in the English training
    market for general public
  • British Council
  • Seen as providing opportunities for company
    employees to study for an MBA in the UK
  • Such MBAs felt to be useful way of improving
    English performance

I know very little about the UK-based English
training organisationswas it EF that is from the
UK? I guess so it is a large enterprise
providing training services. Also, one of my
colleagues attended a programme held by the
British Council. It seems that the British
Council cooperates with UK universities to offer
opportunities to leading national organisations
Future demand for more business English training
  • Economic crisis means training budgets
    dramatically cut in 2009
  • ELT not a priority
  • Longer term, companies want ELT to be combined
    with business or management-related skills
  • Work-related English training is more practical
  • English learnt at school/university is not geared
    to business English
  • English training combined with management or
    other business-related topics is deemed more
  • Employees can improve professional skills and
    English skills at the same time

TIP is not simply English training it covers a
lot of information besides spoken English, like
management and EQ topics. With the training, our
employees also develop their minds
Summary Implications
Summary Implications
  • Strong and growing market, particularly in main
    cities and more developed coastal areas, so good
    potential for UK providers
  • Especially as English increasingly seen as a
    must have in the larger, outwardly facing
  • Currently, market dominated by adult learners,
    but strong growth in the young learners market,
    which offers huge market potential
  • Especially since teaching in the public sector
    still lags behind that available in private
    sector (in terms of practical application of
    skills and quality of learning materials)
  • Market seemingly unaffected by economic downturn
    indeed some speculation that it may increase the
    importance of learning English as competition for
    jobs becomes more intense

Summary Implications
  • ELT institutions remain main way of learning
    English outside school
  • Huge number of such institutions of varying size,
    cost and quality
  • UK providers of ELT and learning materials have a
    good reputation
  • Associated with quality and high levels of
    credibility with potential employers
  • But, UK ELT also associated with high price (the
    flip side of quality?) look for lower cost
    options to offer in addition higher cost/quality
  • Also interviews with teachers suggest UK
    organisations have a low profile in China,
    meaning there is a need to build this profile
  • Furthermore, US English preferred to UK English,
    which represents a potential obstacle

Summary Implications
  • Online learning still at an early stage, but
    growing force in the market, and therefore could
    represent an important opportunity for UK
  • Particularly if Voice Interaction Technology can
    overcome some of downsides related to practising
    oral skills and interacting with others
  • In-company training still quite low, except in
    larger companies
  • In the short-term, limited opportunities for
    external organisations to help with in-company
    training, due to budget cuts
  • But in the medium/longer term, opportunities lie
    in a focus on
  • Business English, combined English business
    training, exchange/visit study programmes to
    organisations in the UK

Summary Implications
  • Key opportunities for UK organisations in terms
  • Materials design more accurate English, with
    better feel for UK/US culture
  • Expanded online offer, with downloadable
    exercises from the internet geared to different
    language skills and different age
  • Teacher development activities
  • Provision of more opportunities for teachers to
    practise their English skills with native
    speakers and learn more about the culture

Summary Implications
  • But
  • Other than in private schools, Education
    Commissions are often the dominant decision maker
    on what is used (text books and E-courseware)
  • Teachers have limited information on external
    providers and do not have time to proactively
    search for this information
  • Therefore UK providers need to
  • Build closer relationships with local Education
    Commissions eg in terms of help with compiling
    textbooks, E-courseware,
  • Provide downloadable resources for teachers
  • Raise the profile of UK providers and what they
    can do regular E-newsletter to schools?

Joanna Burke Regional DirectorBritish Council
  • The British Council in China
  • context and overview

The British Council in China
  • First office in China opened in 1943. Re-opened
    in Beijing in 1979.
  • Cultural and Education Section of the British
    Embassy in Beijing
  • Cultural and Education Section of the British
    Consulates-General in Shanghai, Guangzhou and
  • British Council in Hong Kong (since 1948)
  • 450 full-time staff across China

The external environment in China
  • One Country, two Systems
  • Growing international profile and national pride
  • Rapid urbanisation
  • Economic growth (still!)
  • Internet access and usage
  • Need for skills development
  • Crowded marketplace of international products and
    services (including education and culture)
  • Increased buying power of government at all

A diverse range of work
  • Creative and Knowledge Economy
  • Intercultural Dialogue
  • Climate Change

  • Market Penetration

Our China Strategy
  • Making the most of new technologies
  • Working in more effective partnerships
  • In order to
  • Reach new urban audiences across China in new
  • Double the number of people in leadership
    positions and influencers we work with
  • Triple the number of young internationally minded
    people we reach

Our goals for English
  • Ensure that every teacher and learner of English
    in China has access to quality language services
    from the UK
  • Increase the value to the UK of its share of the
    market for international education
  • Enhance the UKs reputation as a source of
    expertise and a partner for skills development
  • Increase the UKs contribution to international
    co-operation in research and innovation

English projects in China in 2009 (policy-makers)
  • Engaging with a growing number of policy-makers
    in China in order to support and strengthen
    English language learning and teaching policy and
    practice in China.

English projects in China in 2009 (teachers)
  • Engaging with approximately 100,000 teachers of
    English throughout China through our Teaching
    English website (,
    teacher workshops, conferences and training
    courses in a range of cities.

English projects in China in 2009 (learners)
  • Engaging with up to 20 million learners of
    English through our English learning website
    (, mobile technology (eg
    Nokia) and newspapers (eg China Daily).

English Assessment
  • - Recognised by more than 6000 organisations
  • - 265,130 candidates (32 increases compared to
  • - 31 centres across the country
  • Professional exams and other exams
  • - 70,000 candidates (22 increase )
  • - BULATS recognised by over 100 companies and

Examinations IELTS
Education Marketing
  • Summer School Programme
  • Campus presentations
  • Agent Conference
  • Agent Workshop
  • Media Tour to the UK
  • Mini Career Fair
  • Alumni Career Development Workshop

Other English projects in the region in 2009
  • Continuing to manage the Peacekeeping English
    Project in China, a project designed to enhance
    the English language skills of Chinese
    peacekeeping staff around the world.

Other English projects in the region in 2009
  • Continuing to run our DPRK teacher education
    project, which involves collaboration with the
    North Korean Ministry of Education, and three of
    the countrys most prestigious universities.

Thank You
India and China ELT Today21 May 2009