Although English is the world’s second most frequently spoken language behind Chinese, it considerably outranks the latter as an international business language. Knowing how to communicate in English proficiency is vital for almost anyone who wants to excel in a variety of sectors ranging from business to academia.
English is the official corporate language of companies such as Samsung, Airbus, Nokia, and Microsoft.
According to the British Council, by 2020, 2 billion people worldwide will be studying English, removing communication barriers between global citizens and facilitating information flow.
Thailand relies significantly on tourism as one of its key sources of revenue, but tourists choose areas where they can speak more readily.
Thailand was placed eighth (or “very low”) among Asean countries and 101st globally in the English Proficiency Index 2023 created by EF, a well-known English education institute with a global network.
According to the index, Thailand trails behind not only Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia, but also Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Cambodia in English proficiency.
The English Proficiency Index 2023 is based on 2.2 million adult test results from 113 countries and regions. Thailand came in 101st place with a score of 416.
Thailand Gets a Failing Grade
The English proficiency levels at EF are extremely high, high, moderate, low, and very low. The test comprised eight Asean countries, with the exception of Brunei, Laos, and Timor-Leste.
Singapore ranks first in Asean and second among the 113 countries and regions, with a score of 631 or very good proficiency.With a score of 578 or high proficiency, the Philippines ranks second in Asean and 20th globally.
Malaysia ranks third in Asean and 25th globally, with a score of 568, indicating good performance. Vietnam ranks fourth in Asean and 58th globally, with a score of 505 or moderate proficiency.
With a score of 473 or low proficiency, Indonesia ranks fifth in Asean and 79th globally, while Myanmar ranks sixth in Asean and 90th globally. Myanmar ranks sixth in Asean and 90th globally, with a proficiency score of 450.
Cambodia ranks seventh in Asean and 98th globally, with a score of 421 or very poor proficiency, while Thailand ranks eighth in Asean and 101st globally, with a score of 416 or very low proficiency.
The ability to communicate in English is critical for the country’s economy to thrive and for Thai people to learn, work, and succeed in an increasingly internationalized setting, interacting with people from all over the area and the world.
Thai Workers Lack English proficiency
Traditional language instruction in Thailand, on the other hand, focuses primarily on teaching grammar and vocabulary, which necessitates rote memorization. It’s a system that demotivates many pupils and has rendered most Thai students and workers unable to communicate effectively in English.
Educators have discovered that focusing on conversational English is a more effective strategy to build confidence and encourage frequent use of the language. New technologies are emerging that can make learning more enjoyable and gratifying.
ELSA Speak, a smartphone application built by a Silicon Valley startup that uses artificial intelligence to place a virtual language coach in the palm of the learner’s hand, is one such example. SEAC, my company, has formed a strategic alliance with ELSA to offer this learning approach to Thailand.
ELSA Speak is the only software that can find pronunciation errors in every sound, thanks to the world’s largest database for non-native English speakers. It provides personalized learning strategies based on a speech scientist-created assessment that each user takes to determine his or her level.
Individualised courses are supplemented by interactive game-like experiences that stimulate frequent practice and deliver immediate and exact feedback with phonetic hints. A Learning Dashboard can also assist corporate users in tracking each employee’s development.
Finally, customized content enables users to acquire lessons that are relevant to their professional and personal goals.
In short, technology may be the trigger Thailand requires to boost English proficiency, allowing Thais to learn, work, and attain their full potential in a more interconnected world.