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Thai English language skills lag

Education First (EF) has released its latest global survey findings and it doesn’t look good for Thailand’s English proficiency. The country came in at 100th out of 112 non-native speaking countries, just pipping Kyrgyzstan, which came in at 101st. In 2020, Thailand was 89th and in 2019 it was 74th. Clearly something isn’t working when it comes to teaching English in the kingdom.

According to The Bangkok Post, the reasons are three-fold. First is the way the language is taught in schools, with an emphasis on memorising vocabulary and grammar to read and write, rather than focusing on listening and speaking. The approach is dry and by rote, rather than fun and interesting. Next is the opportunity to practice English, as on the whole Thai parents are not encouraging of their children learning a foreign language. Finally, there is a lack of properly trained English teachers in mainstream schools.

A few years back a Thai education minister initiated a programme to recruit thousands of native-speaking English teachers and require school children to have five hours of English lessons a week. But, due to changes in government personnel, it fell to the wayside. While Thais are right to be proud of their language, the downside of not getting on board with English is the very real potential to get left behind economically, as so much of the world’s business is conducted in it.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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