English skills in Thailand remain dangerously low

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we-spik-inglishThe newest EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills, deals another blow for Thailand’s educational system, placing the country near the bottom in English proficiency – not in Asia, but globally.

Thailand ranks 62 out of 70 countries in a global ranking of English skills, and the proficiency trend in English showed little or no improvement during the last five years, whereby the latter is the real alarming news.

The report identifies global and regional English-language learning trends and analyses the relationship between countries’ English proficiency and their economic competitiveness. This year’s EF EPI report profiles all 70 ranked countries, using test data from 910,000 adult English-language learners.

Thailand scored 45.35 out of 100, while Sweden (70.94) was on top, following by the Netherlands (70.58) and Denmark (70.05).

In ASEAN, Singapore ranked 12th with a score of 61.08, followed by Malaysia at 14th (60.30), Vietnam at 29th (53.81) and Indonesia at 32nd (52.91). All over Asia, only Mongolia and Cambodia have a lower score than Thailand, and this can be explained in case of Mongolia with Russian being the main second language and in case of Cambodia with the fact the education system had to be rebuilt from scratch from the Khmer Rouge era.

thailand_we-needsBut in case of Thailand, the low English proficiency remains a stubborn systemic problem that has to do with a dismal educational system and is in dire need to be addressed by politics and education providers for the following reasons:

The interaction between English proficiency and Gross National Income per capita seems to be a virtuous cycle – improving English skills drives up salaries, which in turn encourages governments and individuals to invest more in English training. In many countries, higher English proficiency corresponds to fewer young people who are unemployed or not in training.

English is likewise critical to science and engineering. Countries with higher English proficiency have more researchers and technicians per capita, as well as larger expenditures for research and development. The ability to learn from the research of others, participate in international conferences, publish in leading journals, and collaborate with multinational research teams is dependent upon excellent English.

To compete within the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, a 600-million people market with a combined economy that will be the seventh largest in the world, English is a necessity, even more as bilingual and multilingual individuals will be very advantageous at finding job positions and getting promotions.

Thailand will have to acknowledge that in 2015, English is widely accepted as the primary international language, and it is increasingly defined as a basic skill in  a globalised world.

EF English

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The newest EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills, deals another blow for Thailand’s educational system, placing the country near the bottom in English proficiency – not in Asia, but globally.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

we-spik-inglishThe newest EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills, deals another blow for Thailand’s educational system, placing the country near the bottom in English proficiency – not in Asia, but globally.

Thailand ranks 62 out of 70 countries in a global ranking of English skills, and the proficiency trend in English showed little or no improvement during the last five years, whereby the latter is the real alarming news.

The report identifies global and regional English-language learning trends and analyses the relationship between countries’ English proficiency and their economic competitiveness. This year’s EF EPI report profiles all 70 ranked countries, using test data from 910,000 adult English-language learners.

Thailand scored 45.35 out of 100, while Sweden (70.94) was on top, following by the Netherlands (70.58) and Denmark (70.05).

In ASEAN, Singapore ranked 12th with a score of 61.08, followed by Malaysia at 14th (60.30), Vietnam at 29th (53.81) and Indonesia at 32nd (52.91). All over Asia, only Mongolia and Cambodia have a lower score than Thailand, and this can be explained in case of Mongolia with Russian being the main second language and in case of Cambodia with the fact the education system had to be rebuilt from scratch from the Khmer Rouge era.

thailand_we-needsBut in case of Thailand, the low English proficiency remains a stubborn systemic problem that has to do with a dismal educational system and is in dire need to be addressed by politics and education providers for the following reasons:

The interaction between English proficiency and Gross National Income per capita seems to be a virtuous cycle – improving English skills drives up salaries, which in turn encourages governments and individuals to invest more in English training. In many countries, higher English proficiency corresponds to fewer young people who are unemployed or not in training.

English is likewise critical to science and engineering. Countries with higher English proficiency have more researchers and technicians per capita, as well as larger expenditures for research and development. The ability to learn from the research of others, participate in international conferences, publish in leading journals, and collaborate with multinational research teams is dependent upon excellent English.

To compete within the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, a 600-million people market with a combined economy that will be the seventh largest in the world, English is a necessity, even more as bilingual and multilingual individuals will be very advantageous at finding job positions and getting promotions.

Thailand will have to acknowledge that in 2015, English is widely accepted as the primary international language, and it is increasingly defined as a basic skill in  a globalised world.

EF English

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