Beijing Renews English-Language Drive

      July 13, 2010 10:12

      Public servants in Beijing will face considerable pressure over the next five years to learn English after the city government launched a campaign to improve their language skills and penalize those who fail to meet expected proficiency levels.

      The Global Times, a sister newspaper of the People's Daily, reported Monday that the city has come up with a five-year plan to get all residents -- from kindergarten children to shop assistants -- to learn English under a plan to convert the Chinese capital into a world city.

      China implemented a similar program between 2003 to 2005 before the Beijing Olympics, and taught English to 5.5 million citizens.

      All city employees will be required to speak more than 100 English sentences fluently, while those with university degrees will be expected to speak at least 1,000.

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