December 29th the government announced an action plan for the comprehensive improvement of foreign language levels in Hainan Province. Improving the levels of English, Russian, Korean, French and Japanese for cross cultural communication is seen as a key driver in the establishment of Hainan as a free trade pilot zone and a Free Trade port.

The plan focuses on four major areas, government bodies, schools, news and media, and public service windows with different foreign language ability goals to be set for different industries.

The aim is that by 2025, Hainan’s international language environment will have been established, the general population has a basic understanding of international cultural etiquette with respect to different cultural customs, and various enterprises and institutions can use at least one foreign language to conduct relevant industry exchanges.

Implementing foreign language training programs for practitioners in the public service industry.

Foreign language training systems will be established for public services, public transportation, tourism, culture, health, news, business, public service windows, which will include making full use of teaching and training resources both inside and outside of the province, centralized training, weekend training schools and evening training schools. Foreign language training programs for civil servants are also to be established.

Industry specific evaluation standards and assessment systems are to be developed and implemented to measure ongoing progress of foreign language improvement in the various cities and counties.

Establishment of a multilingual foreign language teaching reform project focusing on English in primary and secondary schools.

English teaching in primary and middle schools will be subject to reforms with a focus on teaching methods and English listening and speaking ability. Evaluation methods and test methods for foreign language tests in entrance exams and college entrance examinations will also be subject to changes.

Beginning in 2019, first and second grade English learning programs in primary schools were launched in Haikou and Sanya. 

Starting from 2020, all cities and counties in the province will start the English learning programs in first and second grades, and begin English learning programs in public kindergartens.

In colleges and universities, students will be encouraged to take up internships in important key industries and departments, whilst the universities themselves are encouraged to undertake foreign language training tasks for various industries, and establish support structures to help improve the mechanism of foreign language learning on a provincial level.

International study programs for top local foreign language teachers to go abroad to study will be established while at the same time prioritising attracting top international language teachers and standardising management systems.

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