Integrated language training should be introduced for all student teachers to improve standards, the Democratic Party said. At a meeting with education officials, the party said better training was the key to better standards - not the language benchmark test proposed by the Government. The party said skills should be improved during training. 'This can ensure all freshly graduated teachers will meet the language benchmark standard which the Government now requires,' party vice-chairman Dr Yeung Sum said. Dr Yeung, the party spokesman on education, said the Government should not create barriers after teachers had taken the job. 'This is equivalent to a challenge to the legitimacy of the degrees granted by the institutes,' he said. 'Examinations can't upgrade language standards . . . They can only reveal the current standard of teachers.' To go hand in hand with the lifelong learning philosophy stressed by the Government recently, the party proposed on-the-job language training for three years for all teachers, particularly those who had not received formal language training. Dr Yeung said after meeting Secretary for Education and Manpower Joseph Wong Wing-ping and his successor, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, that he opposed the proposed test and that it was simplistic to attribute the decline in language teaching standards to the poor language proficiency of teachers.