According to Bangkok's 'The Nation' (English language newspaper) Thailand ranks near the bottom in an English proficiency survey, showing the persistence of one of the key competitive weaknesses of the Thai economy.
Out of 60 countries and territories where English is not their mother
tongue, Thailand manages only 55th place - outdoing only Panama,
Kazakhstan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, according to the EF English
The survey on adults was conducted by the global leader in international
education, EF Education First, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Poor English skills indicate the small base of competent adult English speakers necessary for a globalized workforce.
"Comparison of countries with their neighbours, trading partners and
rivals provides a fascinating study in divergent national priorities and
educational policies worldwide," Christopher McCormick, head of EF's
Academic Affairs and Research Network, said yesterday.
"We found that by engaging in a national dialogue about English,
stakeholders can help align goals, improve incentives and focus on
teaching English for communication. The economic impact of such a
coordinated programme is clear."
All over Asia, Thailand's ranking is only above Kazakhstan. Leading the
regional league is Malaysia with a score of 58.99 score, followed by
Singapore. The others - India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan,
Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and China - are all over 50 points, while
Thailand gained only 44.44.
The survey was conducted in the realization that English is now a
communication tool in the globalized era, when work becomes more
delocalized and information more decentralized.
Educational institutions, driven by the demands of society, are
increasingly embracing English language learning. Many school systems
now require English study starting in primary school, much as they do
math or science. University professors are delivering lectures in
English to prepare their students better for life after graduation.
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