Ex-ASEAN SecGen sharply criticises lacking foreign language skills in Thailand

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Surin Pitsuwan ASEAN flagThe former Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, recently had another focus on one of his favourite topics – Thailand’s education system or the lack thereof.

Pitsuwan said in his capacity as President of the Democrat think tank Future Innovative Thailand Institute (FIT) that lack of foreign language skill is one of the most significant problems among Thai people to compete in the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community to be launched at the end of this year. People in other ASEAN nations were curious to study Thai language but Thais have oppositely no incentive to learn ASEAN languages. This is a serious drawback which needs an urgent solution, Surin said.

He was confident that Thai competitiveness in ASEAN could increase by as much as 25 per cent if language skills of Thai population have improved.

Thaienglish_Arno MaierbruggerThe Ex-ASEAN SecGen’s statements came when the new IMD World Competitiveness Center’s rankingcame out on MAy 27, showing that Thailand dropped one rank to 30 out of 61 surveyed economies.

Thailand is allocating one fifth of its total annual budget to educational development, the highest figure among ASEAN nations and – in percentage of GDP terms – even higher than Japan’s and Singapore’s educational budget and almost equal to Germany’s. However, such a big investment did not bring the country higher quality of education as expected, Pitsuwan noted.

Other critics of the system are going even further, saying that a large portion of the allocated money is allegedly not used for its actual purposes and would “disappear” somewhere down the line.

“As far as I am concerned, Thailand needs to have effective response to the mobility of eight types of skilled labour in the upcoming changing environment in ASEAN. More effective education is a crucial part of the response as it could prepare readiness of Thai skilled labour to compete in the ASEAN labour market,” he said.

He also stressed that the government should invest more in science and technology as it was putting “too little emphasis” on these sectors. Improvement of the quality of education should be done at all levels ranging from primary, secondary to higher education, Pitsuwan remarked.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The former Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, recently had another focus on one of his favourite topics – Thailand’s education system or the lack thereof.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Surin Pitsuwan ASEAN flagThe former Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Surin Pitsuwan, recently had another focus on one of his favourite topics – Thailand’s education system or the lack thereof.

Pitsuwan said in his capacity as President of the Democrat think tank Future Innovative Thailand Institute (FIT) that lack of foreign language skill is one of the most significant problems among Thai people to compete in the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community to be launched at the end of this year. People in other ASEAN nations were curious to study Thai language but Thais have oppositely no incentive to learn ASEAN languages. This is a serious drawback which needs an urgent solution, Surin said.

He was confident that Thai competitiveness in ASEAN could increase by as much as 25 per cent if language skills of Thai population have improved.

Thaienglish_Arno MaierbruggerThe Ex-ASEAN SecGen’s statements came when the new IMD World Competitiveness Center’s rankingcame out on MAy 27, showing that Thailand dropped one rank to 30 out of 61 surveyed economies.

Thailand is allocating one fifth of its total annual budget to educational development, the highest figure among ASEAN nations and – in percentage of GDP terms – even higher than Japan’s and Singapore’s educational budget and almost equal to Germany’s. However, such a big investment did not bring the country higher quality of education as expected, Pitsuwan noted.

Other critics of the system are going even further, saying that a large portion of the allocated money is allegedly not used for its actual purposes and would “disappear” somewhere down the line.

“As far as I am concerned, Thailand needs to have effective response to the mobility of eight types of skilled labour in the upcoming changing environment in ASEAN. More effective education is a crucial part of the response as it could prepare readiness of Thai skilled labour to compete in the ASEAN labour market,” he said.

He also stressed that the government should invest more in science and technology as it was putting “too little emphasis” on these sectors. Improvement of the quality of education should be done at all levels ranging from primary, secondary to higher education, Pitsuwan remarked.

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