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Foreign language courses in China draw 50 million people
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China has nearly 50 million people who are learning foreign languages at schools and language institutes, an official of the Ministry of Education (MOE) said.

Colleges offer courses in more than 60 foreign languages, Dai Weidong, professor with the MOE advisory board for foreign language teaching, told an international symposium that concluded over the weekend.

More than 900 colleges offer an English major, he said, and of those, more than 600 can confer a bachelor's degree and more than 200 can confer master's degrees.

There are more than 800,000 students majoring in English in China.

The number of people taking the English proficiency test, the Test for English Majors (TEM), had risen by 10 percent annually since 2004, he said.

TEM tests are conducted by the MOE advisory board for foreign language teaching and are considered the highest-level English tests in China.

The symposium attracted more than 300 experts from all over the world.

(Xinhua News Agency April 1, 2008)

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