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ECC to focus on enhancing Thais' language skills, giving back to society

Sonia Gan, managing director of ECC

Sonia Gan, managing director of ECC

The ECC language institute is embarking on its fourth decade by targeting students, business people and members of the general public who want to enhance their language skills in preparation for the upcoming Asean Economic Community (AEC).

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, ECC - whose strength is its highly experienced academic team and student-centred approach - is also organising Bt30 million worth of projects in order to give something back to society through one-year scholarships and free English study trips to New Zealand.

Managing director Sonia Gan said there was currently increasing demand to learn English, partly due to the rapidly approaching AEC, which comes into effect next year.

The AEC has sparked enthusiasm among Thais in using English in daily life, as it will be an important communication tool in the future, she said.

Kasikorn Research Centre says more Thais are taking up foreign language courses to enhance their skills. It estimates the number will rise from 432,000 people in 2012 to 746,000 in 2015, which would mean an average increase of 20 per cent per annum.

The market value of foreign language learning centres in the Kingdom also continues to increase, from Bt6.04 billion in 2012 and Bt7.37 billion in 2013 to an estimated Bt9 billion this year and Bt11.02 billion next year - annual growth of some 25 per cent, on average.

Of the Bt11.02 billion predicted for next year, Bt3.44 billion is expected to be accounted for by major language learning centres, whose market-value growth rate is 34 per cent a year.

Small and medium-sized centres are valued at Bt7.58 billion, with an 18-per-cent annual growth rate.

ECC's managing director said the language institute, which has more than 40 branches around the country, always aims to improve all aspects of the learning process. Every class is taught by a qualified teacher who has experience in teaching English as a second language. The classes are student-centred, in which the teacher strives to make the environment suitable for learning and encourages the use of the English language.

Additionally, before enrolling in a class, every student has to be assessed in four areas - listening, speaking, reading and writing - in order to be placed in the optimal class for their learning level. Learning tools include well-selected books and other audio and visual media, she said.

"ECC focuses on using the communicative approach to enhance each student's skills in four areas, and the students' needs are taken into account when planning the course," she added.

The MD added that ECC aimed to become the Thai leader in language learning and building knowledge and information through high-quality teaching to equip students with effective skills in a conducive learning environment that is both modern and welcoming.

As for the institute's marketing strategy this year, ECC will focus on creating widespread brand awareness.

In terms of giving something back to society, and to thank its customers, ECC's Bt30 million worth of campaigns include donations to the Red Cross Society to build an ophthalmology operating room; an English essay competition under the topic "Why do you want to improve your English?" to win one-year scholarships to study English; donations to underprivileged children, outstanding students and governmental entities; and discounts for students and parents.

There is also a "Your Lucky Receipt" programme, offering a chance to win English study trips to New Zealand, as well as many other prizes - 300 in total.

Every Bt5,000 spent on any course qualifies for one lucky-draw voucher. Vouchers can be submitted until August 31and the draw will take place on September 13 on the third floor of Central Rattanathibet, in front of SF Cinema.

ECC was established in Thailand in 1984 by a combined Thai and foreign management team with experience in teaching foreign languages.

It started off by offering courses such as English, other foreign languages, computers and art, all taught by skilled teachers using high-standard learning tools.

Its mission is to increase Thai students' ability in English and computer skills so that they can use them in real life. The courses are open for students aged from two and a half to 16 years old, as well as to the general public. Today, ECC is the largest language institute in Thailand with an extensive branch network nationwide.

It has 41 branches in total, 24 of them in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. It has also branched out to Taichung in Taiwan.

It offers a wide variety of courses that include general English, grammar, writing, business English and test-preparation courses for TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS/GED.

Other languages taught include Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai.

Additionally, there are young learners' courses in universal English and pronunciation, Mandarin foundation courses, Japanese foundation courses, phonics, and tutorial courses. ECC also offers language and IT courses and consultancy services to private and government organisations through its corporate training department.




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