Thailand’s Prime Minister has signed an order requiring university students to have their English skills tested and meet Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) requirements before graduating.
According to government spokesman Chai Wacharonke, each university can develop its own tests, but the assessments must meet CEFR requirements. CEFR is an international standard for describing language competence and proficiency on a six-point scale, ranging from A1 for novices to C2 for those who have mastered the language.
According to Mr Chai, diploma students must earn at least a B1 level to pass the mandatory test, while bachelor’s degree students must achieve at least a B2 level and postgraduate students at least a C1 level of English language skills.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordered that the English language skills test be implemented. He wants measures put in place right once to improve the English-language skills of university students nationally.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation is carrying out the premier’s instruction and instructing universities to implement the English skills test.
The spokesman stated that institutions must establish clear norms and equip students with training to prepare them for life after graduation.
English language courses must have clear and credible assessment criteria. Furthermore, extracurricular language-enhancement activities for students will be planned, with universities procuring excellent instructional tools for use both online and offline.
Mr Chai believes that additional opportunities should be provided for university students to improve their English language skills. “The policy focuses on increasing the [university students’] English ability in all domains.
“The prime minister is keen to see the development of a quality human resource that is well-suited to the job market with a globally recognised standard of language ability,” Chai said in a statement.
He noted that being fluent in English will help with tourism, trade, investment, and research.
The English skills test in universities is being launched after Mr Srettha was surprised by the results of the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Pisa test, which saw Thai students’ performance drop to 20-year lows. The results were released last month.
Thailand was one of seven countries with decreasing reading performance prior to the epidemic. According to the Pisa exam, this group also includes Costa Rica, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands, the Slovak Republic, and Sweden.
Mr Srettha stated that last month, many people attacked Thai education for its poor quality, notably in terms of curriculum and instructor quality, but no one took real effort to improve it.
English Skills in Thailand
According to Chai, English skills in Thailand have become increasingly important as the country continues to develop its global presence. With a growing demand for English proficiency in the workplace and an influx of international travelers, the ability to speak and understand English has become a valuable asset for many Thais.
Thailand’s flourishing tourism industry and expanding international trade have made English a vital tool for effective communication. English proficiency enhances the country’s ability to engage with the global community, fostering economic growth and cultural exchange.
He said in today’s competitive job market, employers often seek candidates with strong English skills. Many multinational companies and international organizations operating in Thailand require employees who can communicate fluently in English. As a result, proficiency in English has become a prerequisite for career advancement in various industries.
In some regions of Thailand, access to native English speakers and authentic English language environments is limited. This lack of exposure can hinder fluency and natural language acquisition.
As the demand for English skills in Thailand continues to grow, individuals are encouraged to take proactive steps to enhance their language proficiency. Embracing opportunities for language practice, engaging with native English speakers, and immersing oneself in English language media can all contribute to the development of strong English skills.