Mandarin test debuts nationwide
Updated: 2011-12-26 08:05
By Li Yao and Wang Hongyi (China Daily)
BEIJING / SHANGHAI - A new Chinese proficiency test made its debut nationwide on Saturday. It is applicable to all who use Mandarin in daily life, for academic purposes or at work, including foreigners.
Aiming to improve overall Mandarin proficiency in China, the test, called Hanyu Nengli Ceshi in Chinese and HNC in short, was held at 13 venues in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Jiangsu, Hunan, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia.
Examinees were tested on their listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills. Except for the writing part, the exam was carried out online.
The HNC test has been designed to test one's Chinese skills at six stages, Level 1 being the most basic and Level 6 the most advanced. Examinees will receive certificates at corresponding levels and an assessment report about the strengths and weaknesses of their Chinese proficiency.
Saturday's test was part experimental, held in selected venues. Instead of inviting individual application, the organizers at the 13 venues contacted the examinees - mostly college students, a few faculty members, civil servants and middle school students.
No examination fee was charged this time.
With support from China's Ministry of Education and the State Language Commission, the National Education Examinations Authority (NEEA) oversaw this non-compulsory and nonprofit test.
The HNC test is likely to be held twice a year in the future in more venues, an official surnamed Qiu from the NEEA told China Daily.
Since September 2010, four small-scale trial exams were held to test the system, Qiu said.
In early December, Xiao Wei and his colleagues were entrusted with holding the HNC test at Xuzhou Normal University, one of the three venues in Jiangsu province.
"Chinese people's mastery of their native tongue has been on the decline. That is where the HNC test steps in. It aims to encourage educational institutes to teach students practical Chinese language skills," he said.