Subscriptions steady for English study guides
Updated: 2013-04-08 10:20
By Luo Wangshu (China Daily)
"We are asked to subscribe English Weekly, and the fee is included in the tuition," Zhang said, adding that his teachers use the paper for after-class exercises and review material.
"It is like a quiz, which is boring," the 13-year-old said. "My teacher asks us to do exercises on it, and she grades it. Then we go over it again to review. I don't like exercise factory newspapers like English Weekly."
Zhang said his classmates did not read the paper at all, including "our best English learner".
"None of my classmates willingly chooses to subscribe to a study guide," Zhang said.
Although some students may grumble about reading them, English study newspapers retain a steady group of subscribers.
In addition to English Weekly, China has dozens of other similar English study guides, including Students' English Times, English Coaching Paper, Learning English, and English Tests and Assessments.
Although a wide range of options exists, authorities worry that some English study guides offer substandard content filled with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Demand from students and a lower threshold for market access have resulted in an increasing number of study guides in the market, leading to fierce competition for market share within the industry, according to a report by GAPP.
An evaluation by GAPP released in May found 44 of 67 study-guide newspapers tested were of low quality.
A researcher at the National Institute of Education Sciences who asked to be identified only as Meng said that misconduct in terms of sales and management is common in the study guide market.
"Publishers often collude with schools and teachers to promote sales of their study guides," he said, explaining that agents may offer the materials to a school or teacher at a discounted price. They are then sold to the students at full price.