The lesson time set aside for compulsory English learning at Baptist University will be doubled under the new academic structure, the head of its language centre said this week. Kathleen Ahrens, who joined the university last year after teaching public speaking and writing at National Taiwan University for more than a decade, said more emphasis would be placed on language training when four-year degrees were launched in 2012. . Currently, students who scored a C or above in A-level use of English have to obtain three credits in English-enhancement courses. Under the new academic structure, all students, regardless of their public exam results, will be required to get six credits in English training. Professor Ahrens said the centre was developing a new language- enhancement course that would also be made compulsory in 2012. 'The three-credit course will consist of training in creative writing and public speaking,' she said, adding that local students had to brush up on their pronunciation skills. 'Being biliterate and trilingual, Hong Kong is a unique place where students get wide exposure to English broadcasts and vocabulary. 'However, some students might feel puzzled by the various accents they are exposed to. Being taught by a teacher from New Zealand in the first year and another from America the next, they might find the paradoxes in pronunciation vexing.' Citing common vowel mix-ups students make when speaking English, Professor Ahrens said excessive use of 'Chinglish' affect students' career prospects in global business . ' There is no problem in Hongkongers using Hong Kong English, when speaking with other local people. However, students have to think about whether it can be used in international situations.' To strengthen their pronunciation skills, students could do 'shadowing' exercises to imitate the intonation of foreign speakers. She stressed the role teachers played in improving the English standard of university students. 'Language teaching is not a science, but an art form. A single method cannot be applied to all students who have different interests and needs. The most important thing is to let students understand the reasons for learning English.'