In the next five years, most of Beijing’s kindergartens will offer English classes, and a Beijing municipal English-speaking TV station, radio station and newspaper will also be established. In addition, public servants who have a bachelor’s degree or above and are under 40 are required to master at least 1,000 English dialogues.
Beijing Municipality’s Foreign Affairs Office released The Project on Developing the Capital’s International Language Environment from 2011 to 2015 (first draft) on July 8.
Chinese traditional culture was added into the foreign language classes
According to the project, Beijing’s schools will learn from the international successes in this type of program to reform the current teaching methods and examination system for foreign languages by 2015. Beijing’s kindergartens will gradually offer foreign language classes in order to promote a systematic foreign language education from kindergarten to college.
The content of the foreign language teaching will extend to include some materials dealing with traditional Chinese culture and international communication in order to foster students’ intercultural awareness and knowledge of international concepts and improve the overall quality of the teaching.
At least ten percent of public servants must pass the BETS
The project lists 15 industries and departments as key units, including those relating to public security, public transit, health, cultural relics exhibitions, commerce and postal service. The foreign language level of the workers in those units will directly relate to their employment and rewards. The project also details the specific requirements for ten departments including the urban management department and public security departments.
In addition, the pass rate of Beijing’s public servants on the BETS must reach ten percent. Common public servants must master over 100 daily English dialogues, while those who have a bachelor’s degree or above and those under 40 must master over 1000 English dialogues, and must be able to use English in general communication and public service activities.
The units that fail the year-end appraisal of work will be criticized in a circulated notice
According to the plan, the project will be officially put into motion in 2011. As the guiding document in the development of the capital’s international language environment, the project requires every department, district and county to draw up specific implementation plans, and they will be inspected semiannually and comprehensively evaluated at the end of the year. Departments and units that do not fulfill the task as planned will be criticized in a circulated notice.
Wang Yukai, a professor from Chinese Academy of Engineering Sciences, said that the goal of becoming a “world city” places greater demands on the foreign language ability of Beijing’s window units, foreign language education level and the foreign language communication level of ordinary citizens. Thus, the project will emerge and progress will be made based on whatever time is required.
The project is open for public opinions beginning from July 10
The project will openly solicit public opinions from July 10 to August 10. Citizens can search and browse the information on the official web site of the Beijing Speaks Foreign Languages Program (www.bjenglish.com.cn). If you have any suggestions, please e-mail them to email@example.com.
Foreign language training requirements for some departments
Commerce department: Workers under 40 years old and on the front line, including salesmen, waiters and waitresses, receptionists, room service workers, beauticians, hairdressers and photographers, must pass industry English exam or BETS at an over 50 percent rate.
Public security department: Among the civilian police under 40 years old, 80 percent must pass the primary Beijing oral English test or level one of BETS.
Transportation department: Among 80,000 working taxi drivers, 80 percent of them must pass the 300 sentences test in the Beijing Taxi drivers’ English training material and 90 percent of them must pass the 100 sentences portion of it. 90 percent of the public transportation drivers and attendants must pass the 100 English sentences test that they need to know. 90 percent of subway service staff must pass the 300 English sentences test that is intended for passenger service workers.
Park and tourist attractions: By 2015, workers on the front line including ticket sellers and ticket takers must master over 100 English sentences in daily communication and over 300 English sentences in industrial English. 80 percent of them must pass BETS.
Banks: By 2015, Among workers on the front line and under 40 years old, 80 percent must pass an industrial English exam or BETS. Every bank branch must have at least five staff members who have passed level two of BETS.
Urban management department: Among the front-line officers under the age of 40, 80 percent of them must past level one of BETS. In the urban management unit that in charge of areas where foreigners frequently go to such as tourist attractions, financial business districts and embassy zones, at least two urban management officers must pass level three of BETS.