Language Policy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 5–24 | Cite as

English Language Education in China: Policies, Progress, and Problems

  • Guangwei HuEmail author


English language education has been accorded much importance in the People’s Republic of China in the last quarter century. This paper presents an overview of basic English language education in the Chinese education system. It is intended to serve two purposes: (1) to provide background information for situating and interpreting the findings reported by Silver and Skuja-Steele in this issue and (2) to survey progress and problems in the development of basic English language education in China. The paper is structured in three parts. The first part examines national policies on the expansion of English provision in basic education since the late 1970s. The second part focuses on policy efforts directed towards improving the quality of English instruction. The last part sketches the major progress that has been made and identifies several thorny issues in English language education that deserve serious attention from policymakers.


educational efficiency and equity English language education in China foreign language education policies quality education syllabuses and curriculums teacher education 



Content-Based English Instruction


Chinese Communist Party


Curriculum and Teaching Materials Reform Commission


Curriculum and Teaching Materials Research Institute


English Language Teaching


Higher Education Research Center of Sichuan Foreign Languages Institute


Ministry of Education


State Education Commission


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English Language and Literature, National Institute of Education Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeRepublic of Singapore

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