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Cambridge ESOL launches major China research

Cambridge ESOL, one of the world’s leading providers of EFL exams, has commissioned a major study of how English language learning is evolving in China.

The Pearl River Delta, home to Hong Kong, is one of China's main economic hubs (photo Arian Zwegers)The Pearl River Delta, home to Hong Kong, is one of China's main economic hubs (photo Arian Zwegers)

The project will help improve Cambridge’s provision of exams and services in China

The study, which is being carried out by the respected linguist David Graddol, focusses on the Pearl River Delta, one of the ’s country’s most densely populated and industrialised regions. It hopes to improve Cambridge’s provision of exams and services in China as well as English language teaching in the region more generally.

Dr Nick Saville, director of research and validation at Cambridge ESOL, told The PIE News: “Profiling English in China is one of a series of research projects we’re carrying out around the world which aim to get a better understanding of how English is learnt in specific contexts and what factors influence outcomes – in other words what language learners can really do with the language for work or study purposes.”

He added: “China is an extremely dynamic country which is rapidly changing and as a result throws up some interesting challenges in terms of English language. The Pearl River Delta is a particularly interesting example of this.”

“China throws up some interesting challenges in terms of English language”

Cambridge ESOL delivers four million exams worldwide each year and views China as a key growth market. The Pearl River Delta research should offer the company intelligence on the changing needs of China’s educational system and how assessment providers should respond.

“This ensures we can continue to offer fit for purpose exams and support systems that bring about positive effects and consequences,” Saville said.

He added that the research could also become a resource for “policy-makers, other researchers and anyone else interested in language teaching or assessment in the region”.

Cambridge ESOL has offered exams in China for two decades and opened 21 new centres in the country last year, increasing access to its Cambridge English: Advanced qualification.

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