American students soon will be able to learn Chinese over the internet at no cost, thanks to a new $3 million project spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Education.

U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige and Zhou Ji, vice minister of education for the People's Republic of China, signed a memorandum of understanding Oct. 21 to jointly build a web-based system that will help students and educators learn a second language free of charge online.

Initially, the eLanguage Learning System (ELLS) will

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