Mandarin lessons may be the trend in the West, but the push in China is to study English. Now, two language-teaching companies have given China poor marks for its English abilities. China, according to two separate studies published recently, is distinguishing itself for the number of people studying, not for their skill levels.
“China still has a way to go before it can consider itself adequately proficient in English,” according to English First BV. Separately, California-based GlobalEnglish Corp. says many of the 11,000 people it recently surveyed in China wouldn’t be able to keep up with a business meeting conducted in English. The findings show that money’s at stake, of course.
The English grades–and recommendations to teach more English–reflect how companies peddling everything in China from dandruff shampoo to mine-safety equipment and bond ratings are solving problems faster than they are recognized. (Admittedly, newspaper reporters are sometimes also accused of viewing China’s tea cup as half empty.)