Thailand’s English proficiency still among lowest in Asia

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This year’s report shows no notable improvements for Thailand since 2011, the first time the English Proficiency Index was released

The newly released English Proficiency Index by Switzerland-based education company Education First, one of the most authoritative studies on English language abilities worldwide, brought another unflattering, although not unexpected, result for Thailand.

The country with the highest number of foreign visitors per year in Southeast Asia retains its place in the “very low” English proficiency group together with Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan in Education First’s 2016 report. The ranking in the group is unchanged since 2011 when the report was published for the first time.

Within ASEAN, Thailand ranks behind Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia on rank six. Myanmar and Brunei have not been surveyed for the index, though.

Within Asia, Thailand ranks 15th out of 19 surveyed countries, and 56th out of 72nd globally, alongside other very low English proficiency nations such as Egypt and Azerbaijan.

The interesting point is that Thailand spends about 20 per cent of its public annual budget on education, and shows an average of seven years of schooling, while countries with the best English proficiency worldwide, such as Netherlands, Germany and Austria, just spend around 11 per cent of their budget on education and have more than ten years of average schooling.

Another viewpoint: Vietnam and Indonesia, which spend approximately the same share of their budget on education and have similar average schooling years, where able to move from the “low proficiency” category in 2011 to the “moderate proficiency” group today and, if the trend continues, are candidates to enter the high proficiency category. Thailand, in turn, was ranked 42nd in 2011, and today ranks 56th. Back then only 44 countries were surveyed, though.

By gender, Thailand’s male population ranked well below the Asian average in terms of their English speaking abilities , while women scored slightly better.

This year, for the first time ever, Singapore is in the highest proficiency band while Malaysia and the Philippines are also in the top 15 countries worldwide.

 

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[caption id="attachment_29212" align="alignleft" width="850"] This year's report shows no notable improvements for Thailand since 2011, the first time the English Proficiency Index was released[/caption] The newly released English Proficiency Index by Switzerland-based education company Education First, one of the most authoritative studies on English language abilities worldwide, brought another unflattering, although not unexpected, result for Thailand. The country with the highest number of foreign visitors per year in Southeast Asia retains its place in the "very low" English proficiency group together with Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan in Education First's 2016 report. The ranking in the group is...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

thailand-english-proficiency
This year’s report shows no notable improvements for Thailand since 2011, the first time the English Proficiency Index was released

The newly released English Proficiency Index by Switzerland-based education company Education First, one of the most authoritative studies on English language abilities worldwide, brought another unflattering, although not unexpected, result for Thailand.

The country with the highest number of foreign visitors per year in Southeast Asia retains its place in the “very low” English proficiency group together with Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan in Education First’s 2016 report. The ranking in the group is unchanged since 2011 when the report was published for the first time.

Within ASEAN, Thailand ranks behind Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia on rank six. Myanmar and Brunei have not been surveyed for the index, though.

Within Asia, Thailand ranks 15th out of 19 surveyed countries, and 56th out of 72nd globally, alongside other very low English proficiency nations such as Egypt and Azerbaijan.

The interesting point is that Thailand spends about 20 per cent of its public annual budget on education, and shows an average of seven years of schooling, while countries with the best English proficiency worldwide, such as Netherlands, Germany and Austria, just spend around 11 per cent of their budget on education and have more than ten years of average schooling.

Another viewpoint: Vietnam and Indonesia, which spend approximately the same share of their budget on education and have similar average schooling years, where able to move from the “low proficiency” category in 2011 to the “moderate proficiency” group today and, if the trend continues, are candidates to enter the high proficiency category. Thailand, in turn, was ranked 42nd in 2011, and today ranks 56th. Back then only 44 countries were surveyed, though.

By gender, Thailand’s male population ranked well below the Asian average in terms of their English speaking abilities , while women scored slightly better.

This year, for the first time ever, Singapore is in the highest proficiency band while Malaysia and the Philippines are also in the top 15 countries worldwide.

 

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