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Thai PM pushes ELT as AEC launch approaches

Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, highlighted the importance of English language education in a nationally televised address this month as a country-wide evaluation of English teachers gets underway. Meanwhile, global pathway and ELT provider Kaplan International has opened its first head office in Thailand.

Bangkok. Photo: Prachanart Viriyaraks.

More than 46,000 teachers will sit an English proficiency exam in the biggest evaluation of English language teachers in a decade

Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed the importance of speaking and understanding English for Thailand’s workforce today in a weekly televised address, in which he also promised to establish a ‘Super Board’ to facilitate sweeping education reforms.

“The advent of AEC this year will bring increased opportunity as well as a great deal of competition to the Thai market”

More than 46,000 teachers will have to sit an English proficiency exam during March and April in the biggest evaluation of English language teachers in a decade.

The results of the evaluation will inform future training for English language teaching as Thailand prepares for the launch of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community (AEC) free trade zone later this year, said Kamol Rodklai, Secretary-General of the Office of the Basic Education Commission.

English is likely to be a key component of facilitating transnational investment and movement of labour within the AEC. Kaplan is looking to answer the growing demand for overseas English language study by opening a new head office in Bangkok’s Central World shopping complex.

“The advent of AEC this year will bring increased opportunity as well as a great deal of competition to the Thai market,” commented Kaplan International’s country manager, Ekkapong Na Ranong.

“AEC brings potentially big opportunities through regionally liberated markets,” he added. “Thai students and business professionals must always be seeking to build upon their English skills to take advantage of the best regional employment and business opportunities ASEAN can offer.”

Ranong said the company is investing in resources and facilities to provide high-school and university students with English language training working with Kaplan’s network of almost 100 agents across the country.

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