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China Introduces ETS' Test of Professional English
In the modern, global economy, Chinese enterprises and government departments are demanding more professionals proficient in English by international standards, a Chinese official said in Beijing Friday.

Wu Yongke, an official with China's State Economic and Trade Commission (SETC), made the remarks at a press conference announcing China's introduction of the Test of Professional English (TOPE), a test of English language proficiency for business and government people developed by the Educational Test Service (ETS) of the United States.

Wu said foreign languages have become a very important tool for Chinese to carry out international exchange and cooperation, especially in view of China's entry into the World Trade Organization and its successful bidding for hosting the 2008 Olympic Games.

SETC hopes to introduce an authoritative and internationally accepted English testing standard which not only helps companies select employees, but also improves Chinese people's proficiency in English.

Kirson Herbert, vice-president for international development of ETS, said the TOPE is specifically designed for those who need to use English in work. The test includes listening, speaking, reading and writing.

China is playing a mounting role in international education market, Herbert said, thus ETS chose China as the first market to promote TOPE.

Liu Jun, president of the Beijing Topeak Group, the only agent for TOPE project in China, said it is the first time for a local enterprise to join hands with ETS to implement the use of a professional test.

The test, which will be put into operation early next year, will be given four or five times each year. It is a paper-based test lasting two and a half hours.

ETS has developed many English tests, including the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Graduate Research Examination (GRE) in China.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2002)

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