Top Chinese University No Longer Requiring English Exam for Graduation

The Chinese have said since forever that they were only going to learn English until they had the power, then they would stop bothering with it, and expect others to learn Chinese.

Apparently, they’ve decided to stop bothering with it.


A top university in northwest China has scrapped English tests as a prerequisite for graduation, rekindling a heated debate about the role of the world’s lingua franca in the country’s education system after years of rising nationalist sentiment under leader Xi Jinping.

In a notice Wednesday, the Xi’an Jiaotong University in the capital city of Shaanxi province said students will no longer need to pass a nationwide standardized English test – nor any other English exams – to be able to graduate with bachelor’s degrees.

The announcement caused a stir on social media, with many praising the decision and calling for more universities to do the same.

Very good. I hope other universities will follow suit. It’s ridiculous that Chinese people’s academic degrees need to be validated by a foreign language (test),” said a comment with more than 24,000 likes on microblogging site Weibo, where a related hashtag attracted more than 350 million views Thursday.

Passing the College English Test, a national standardized exam first held in 1987, has been a graduation requirement at the majority of Chinese universities for decades – although the government has never made it an official policy.

The common practice underlined the importance Chinese universities placed on English – the world’s predominant academic and scientific language – especially when the once-insular and impoverished country was opening up and eager to catch up with the developed world after the turbulence of the Mao Zedong era.

But in recent years, some universities have downgraded the importance of English, either by replacing the national College English Test with their own exams or – as in the case of the Xi’an Jiaotong University – dropping English qualifications altogether as a graduation criteria.

English is important, but as China develops, English is no longer that important,” said a Weibo post from a nationalist influencer with 6 million online followers after the university’s announcement.

It should be the turn for foreigners to learn Chinese,” the influencer said.

Probably, there is going to come a time when Chinese is a more popular second language than English. I can’t imagine that will happen in Europe, but it probably will.

When China is the center of the world, English is going to be a lot less profitable.