English language education in China: Policies, progress, and problems

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

215 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Educational efficiency and equity
  • English language education in China
  • Foreign language education policies
  • Quality education
  • Syllabuses and curriculums
  • Teacher education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'English language education in China: Policies, progress, and problems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this