[T]he nation seems to be suffering a profound case of English fever. South Korea now boasts at least 10 "English villages"—mock Western communities complete with post offices, pharmacies and the like where kids can practice their language skills. An entire English-only town is due to open on Cheju Island in 2010. And one Internet-based company here even offers English courses for fetuses in the womb.And for the Chinese, English is king, not Mandarin, contrary to popular opinion. Says Newsweek:
“Next door, mighty China itself seems to have caught the English bug. Beijing guesses that more than 40 million non-native speakers now study Mandarin worldwide. But that pales next to the number of those learning English. In China alone, some 175 million people are now studying English in the formal education system. And an estimated 2 billion people will be studying it by 2010, according to a British Council report last year. "The impression is that 'Mandarin fever' is rampant and spreading, but a close look shows this is an exaggeration," says Stephen Krashen, a second-language-acquisition expert at the University of Southern California. "The dominance of English as an international language is growing."What’s the reason for this mania for English? In China as in India no mastery of English means no social mobility.
“Driving that growth is China's rising standard of living. Middle-class parents feel intense social pressure to enroll their offspring in buxiban so they can keep pace with their peers. And the long-term benefits of English acquisition are widely touted. According to New Oriental, medium proficiency in English now gives a Chinese child an almost 25 percent salary boost when he or she enters the working world; advanced English provides a more than 70 percent boost.”You may read the full report by clicking here.
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