China is losing interest in learning English, sending its proficiency in the global language of business falling ten places in a worldwide ranking.
According to language training company EF Education First, which conducted the 70-country ranking, the Chinese government has "questioned how much emphasis should be placed on English training in the public education system," said EF's Hong Kong-based Director of Research and Academic Partnerships, Minh Tran, in an email.
Schools in some parts of China have lowered the weighting of English language in scores counting toward the national college entrance exam while increasing the importance of the Chinese language component.
The decline in China's grasp of English comes as the country sets to assert its position as a global power not just economically but also culturally, driving a rise in the number of Confucius Institutes worldwide.
Established for the promotion of the Chinese language and culture, the non-profit organizations—named after the influential ancient sage—are affiliated with China's education ministry. There are about 100 such Institutesin the United States and about 400 in total across the world.