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Government to promote benchmarking workplace English
26 October 1999


In an effort to enhance the English standards of the workforce, the Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) is now promoting the benchmarking of English language standards in the workplace.

An open briefing session has been scheduled for Saturday (30 October) to help local employers identify the English standards required of their employees as well as the appropriate business English tests.

The Chairman of the Steering Committee for the English in the Workplace Campaign, Mr Michael Tien, today (26 October) said, "Benchmarking workplace English standards is one of the core programmes of the upcoming English in the Workplace Campaign which is due to commence in early 2000."

"We believe setting benchmarks that reflect the standards of English required for specific sectors and job levels would be an effective step towards promoting English proficiency in the workplace.  These benchmarks can serve as reference standards for employers in recruitment, staff development as well as self-improvement targets for employees," Mr Tien added.

Employers from different sectors, human resources and training professionals are invited to attend the briefing session, where four international language assessment agencies will give presentations on tests of workplace English.  The tests may serve as tools to assess employees' levels of English against the adopted benchmarks. The four agencies are:

  • The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examination Board (LCCI);
  • Pitman Qualifications;
  • The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC); and
  • The University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES)

"We hope the briefing session will provide a good starting point for employers and the workforce in Hong Kong to appreciate the importance of setting workplace English benchmarks.  The benchmarking exercise will help raise our workforce's English language proficiency, a key to maintaining Hong Kong's competitive edge as an international centre of business, finance and tourism," a spokesman for EMB said.