Beijing education authorities plan to de-emphasise English scores on standardised tests, a sign that China's obsession with the language may be waning.
The Beijing municipal commission of education plans to reduce the English section of the all-important college admissions test, the Gaokao, from 150 points to 100 points in major cities by 2016, China's official newswire Xinhua reported.
It will boost the value of the Chinese section from 150 to 180 points. Currently, the test weighs English, Chinese and maths equally.
Officials have spun the proposal as both a practical decision and a matter of national pride. "The change highlights the fundamental importance of mother tongue in the curriculum," a representative from the commission told Xinhua.
Education authorities are also considering scrapping mandatory English lessons before the third grade. They currently begin on the first day of primary school.
Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, as well as Shanghai, may remove English from the Gaokao entirely. Public consultation on the proposal began on Monday, Xinhua reported.
Xinhua called the proposals "no more than a minor tweak", emphasising that they would change the way that English is taught without diminishing its importance.