The Hainan provincial government has published an action plan for language learning on the island as it gears up to build a free trade port.
The plan, effective for 2019-2025, is aimed at improving language competence and communicative skills for employees in government bodies, schools, media and public agencies in Hainan. The languages include English, Japanese, Russian, Korean and French languages.
As a free trade zone and port, Hainan plays a pivotal role in China’s opening-up drive and in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Starting this year, English lessons will be stepped up for first and second graders in Haikou and Sanya. As the language-learning drive proceeds, English lessons will offered at kindergartens, the plan said.
Besides Mandarin Chinese, primary and middle school students already have one mandatory language lesson, which is usually English. Schools are encouraged to teach a second foreign language to the students, it said.
Hainan will also recruit teachers from overseas.
Websites for government and public agencies will have different language versions. Public signs will multi-lingual by 2020.
The provincial government will establish work teams to inspect the language study work.
The southernmost island province in China is a popular tourist destination. Overseas tourists made 1.1 million visits to Hainan in the first 11 months of 2018, generating revenue of around $680 million.