Although Thailand ranked at the very bottom of the English Proficiency Index by EF, the government’s next move is to cut back on hiring foreign English teachers and have Thais teach English to Thais.
The Education Ministry wants to cut back on foreign teacher recruitment to slash costs and focus on giving intensive language training to the Thai teachers.
Under the “train-the-trainer” program, a group of 500 Thai teachers who teach English in government schools nationwide will take part in an intensive six-week training course taught by English specialists from the British Council.
The selected teachers, whose English must be among the best in their schools, will receive advanced instruction on teaching written and spoken English as they will be expected to be role models for other teachers in their communities, said Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, Deputy Education Minister.
As many schools currently spending millions of baht each year on hiring foreign teachers, Teerakiat said the program would help reduce future costs.
“We cannot rely on foreign English teachers to improve our English learning forever,” he said. “So we need to stand on our own feet in the future and use foreign English teachers only as much as necessary.”
While that seems like a good idea, a survey on English proficiency among Thai English-language teachers in public schools found that only 6 teachers among 43,000 who took the test were able to speak English at native-speaker level.
The ministry also plans to use celebrities and artists who are fluent in English to promote language learning among young Thais by partnering with GMM Grammy and Polyplus Entertainment, Bangkok Post reported.
In other news, students drool over hot foreign teachers online.