BANGKOK – Thailand’s Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin said Thursday the Education Ministry will introduce a new version of an English-learning app in two months to boost vocational students’ English proficiency.
He said the app, Echo English V, with V standing for vocational, is specifically designed for vocational students.
The app, which will be ready for free download in March, is being jointly developed by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) and the private sector, according to Mr Teerakiat.
It will have thousands of useful English words and phrases regularly used in nine vocational fields including hospitality, tourism and marketing.
It will also provide about 200 English lessons that include speaking, listening, reading, and writing exercises.
The minister said most vocational schools focus on teaching English grammar, with learning being largely bookish and repetitive, leaving students unable to communicate effectively in practical situations.
He said the app will provide practical and useful English that will fit their future careers.
As well as developing Echo English V, the Office of Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) has also arranged EP (English Program) and Mini EP curricula in many vocational education institutes under its control to ensure Thai workers do not fall behind in the labour market
The minister added he didn’t expect students to become fluent after using the app, but said it should be able to help their confidence when using the English language.
Mr. Wanich Uamsri, Deputy Secretary – General, Office of Vocational Education Commission, Ministry of Education admitted the English proficiency of vocational students is low. outside the (Ovec) programs.
Many Factors discouraging better English proficiency among Thai students, a long-term problem for the education sector, include old fashioned ways of teaching, the influence of Thai culture, and low motivation to learn another language.
“Thai students are good workers, but they still lack language skills, which will limit their career opportunities,” he said.