BEIJING, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Senior officials in Shanghai will use their spare time to learn English, a move designed to help them adapt to the strides the city has made toward becoming a cosmopolitan city, Wednesday's China Daily reported.
An eight-year English training program for government officials who are deputy bureau chiefs or above has begun for the first batch of 30 trainees, according to the China Daily.
The program was initiated by the organization department of the local Party committee, with the aim of enhancing local officials' ability to communicate internationally.
According to the program, each trainee will have a flexible, personalized study plan based on their level of ability and native speakers will provide one-to-one tuition.
"Interactive multi-media English courses, social clubs and an English corner will also be included in the study plans, which enable officials to take time from their busy work schedules to make systematic progress," Clare Zhang, a staff member of Wall Street English, the training body providing the program, was quoted as saying.
Zhang said the length of the program depends on trainees' ability and foundation level. "For those who know very little English, the program will last six years," she was quoted as saying.
The Shanghai Municipal Party Committee launched its first English training campaign in 2002. Since then, more than 240 senior officials have participated in the training courses.