More than one in two people support English becoming an elective subject for national university entrance exams, known as Gaokao, China Youth Daily reported.
An online survey of 2,001 participants found 54.4 percent supported the suggestion. However, 50.3 percent said strengthening Chinese language education in schools should not be at the cost of English language studies.
An English teacher at a high school in Jinan City, Shandong Province, said students learn English only to pass the written Gaokao test, so generally perform poorly when it comes to oral and listening skills.
The survey also found 45.2 percent believed making English an elective subject would help reduce study stress while 27.2 percent thought it could make students more self-motivated.
A second-year high school student in Hebei said she hoped more language courses, other than just English, could be offered at school.
As for purposes of studying English, the survey found the top three reasons are to help gain work with foreign companies (40.9 percent), to travel abroad (36.9 percent) and to prepare for exams (31 percent). Other motivations included studying abroad and watching English movies.
Wei Yuhao, who works for an Internet company in Beijing, said English can play a very important role in a career and must not be ignored. Wei also believed the core problem is how English is being studied rather than whether to study the subject or not.
Cao Yun, whose child is in middle school, said she was worried that making English an elective subject would lead to complete neglect of the language in today’s test-centered education system. In the survey, 54.7 percent shared Cao’s concern that an elective course essentially means giving up.
In the survey, 40 percent said they studied English by themselves occasionally, 38.9 percent chose online courses, and 23.5 percent took advantage of language training services. It also showed 49 percent blamed poor results in the study of English even after a long time effort on the lack of good practice.
A deputy to the National People’s Congress, the top legislature, recently called for the English test to be dropped from Gaokao and made optional for high school students.