Shanghai Personnel Bureau: English-language requirement for civil servants

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Apr 10 17:38:27 UTC 2005

City workers troubled by test (  2005-04-10 08:56

             The Shanghai Personnel Bureau is expected to ease the
English-language requirement for civil servants this year due to last
year's unfavorable test results, bureau officials said yesterday.  The
foreign-language requirement will be adjusted according to the test
takers' age, initial recruitment date and work position.

             Compared with new recruits and younger people, the passing
grade will be lower for those civil servants who are older or were
recruited earlier.  Officials in foreign-related government departments,
such as the Foreign Affairs Office, the Shanghai World Expo Coordination
Bureau and the Customs House, will continue to be subject to strict
English requirements.

             The details on the policy adjustment are still under
discussion.  Xu Jinlin, director of the bureau's civil servant management
division, said the upcoming revisions are being made to better match the
existing English-language abilities among civil service workers with
reality.  "We made a good start in pushing civil servants to improve their
English ability," Xu said.

             "But the gap between our expectations and the results told us
that we should make the requirements more realistic."  Last year, the
bureau introduced the Cambridge University Business Language Testing
Service as the city's only recognized English test for civil servants.
Government officials under age 40 were required to reach the second level,
or gain at least 40 points out of a total 100 points on the test by 2007.

             Those people who failed to do so would lose their status as a
civil servant.  Last year, however, only 34 percent of the 2,903 civil
servants recruited were able to fulfill the requirement, while the
majority either failed to score enough points or didn't even take the
test.  Chai Mingjiong, a professor at Shanghai International Studies
University's English department, said the test results reflected the true
communications ability of the city's civil servants in an actual business
and work environment.

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