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ELS Educational Services and Jiangsu University work toward establishing joint language center
By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/14 18:28:39

The experience to get outside of your own culture and country to challenge yourself with a new language and different world perspectives is vital to the future of our shrinking global community.

To facilitate this, ELS Educational Services and Jiangsu University recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the US Consulate General in Shanghai to work toward establishing a language center at Jiangsu University.

The new program will deliver English training and related services to incoming international students as well as to existing domestic and international students while enhancing Jiangsu University's worldwide brand recognition and international student recruitment ability via ELS' global recruitment network.

ELS was founded in 1961 with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey. Over the past half century, ELS has helped over million international students successfully study English and obtain diplomas in the US. Its English for Academic Purposes program is now available on campuses in four continents.

This MOU is historic because it is the first such cooperation in China. It is also the first step for ELS to establish a language center on the campus of Jiangsu University, which will deliver English training to incoming international students as well as Chinese students.

"This MOU will let ELS serve as a bridge to Jiangsu University to fulfill the educational goals of students not just in China but all around the world," said Hanscom Smith, Consul General of the US in Shanghai, during his open remarks at the signing ceremony.

Rising proficiency

"The US-China relationship is the world's most important bilateral relationship. To make that relationship work in the future we need students who will benefit from the sorts of cooperation we see today established between ELS and Jiangsu University," Smith added.

During the 2016 academic year, over 300,000 students from China studied in the US, an 8 percent increase from the previous year, making students from China the single biggest group of foreign students in the US, accounting for 30 percent of all international students there, Smith explained.

Correspondingly, the overall English proficiency of Chinese students is also on the rise. "Students in China are very hardworking," remarked Mallik Sundharam, Vice President of Business Development for ELS Educational Services. "The level of English ability of students from China has increased largely in just the last 10 years."

Sundharam noticed that students from China have different levels of English depending on if they were raised in a developed metropolis or a rural region, thus requiring larger needs for English learning in less-developed cities and towns.

Meeting needs

To encourage this, ELS has specialized programs that adapt according to the interests, needs and backgrounds of individual student. Each year ELS holds over 40,000 weeks of lessons for Chinese students and has a structured curriculum that accommodates 12 levels of instruction.

The highest level of English certification from ELS is accepted by 650 universities in USA, Canada and Australia as a requirement for their English proficiency of higher education.

Students from different parts of the world are also choosing China more and more in recent years as an academic destination. According to statistics from the Institute of International Education, the number of international students in China has witnessed substantial growth over the past decade.

In 2015, China's total international student enrollment was 397,635, a 5 percent increase from 2014. South Korea, US and Thailand were the three-largest source countries of its international students.

"We hope to expand our recruitment network that we currently have in developing nations including emerging markets like Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal and India for students to come to China for higher education opportunities," said Sundharam.

US Consul General Hanscom Smith witnesses the signing of MOU between Mallik Sundharam from ELS (left) and Ren Xiaofei from Jiangsu University (right). Photo: Courtesy of the Consulate General of US in Shanghai
US Consul General Hanscom Smith witnesses the signing of MOU between Mallik Sundharam from ELS (left) and Ren Xiaofei from Jiangsu University (right). Photo: Courtesy of the Consulate General of US in Shanghai

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