Debates Around the Orientation of TEFL in Chinese Tertiary Education

  • Jigang Cai
Part of the New Language Learning and Teaching Environments book series (NLLTE)


College English is the required program across the disciplines in tertiary education in mainland China, enjoying the overwhelmingly large number of non-English majors. But controversies have persisted over its orientation since 1978, when the reform to higher education system was implemented. There are four major debates: general English vs. English for science and technology, English for tests vs. English for communication, English for reading purposes vs. English for listening and speaking, and English for liberal education vs. English for academic purposes. Lack of a clear orientation of college English teaching at tertiary level over the past four decades has led to the failure of China to produce a whole generation of scientists, engineers and professionals capable of using English for research and occupational purposes. This chapter summarizes the issues underlying these four debates along with their causes.


College English Orientation Debates EGP ESP EAP 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jigang Cai
    • 1
  1. 1.Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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