Thai pupils at 92 schools in 45 provinces will get help in improving their English skills under a nine-week programme led by undergraduates and recent graduates from the United Kingdom.
It will last until the end of August and is a collaboration between the British Council Thailand and the Thai Education Ministry. Since its establishment in 2012, the programme has been held for four consecutive years. The latest is entitled “Thai English Teaching (TET) Programme 2015”. Its theme is “Bridging cultures and utilising online resources for effective and motivational English teaching and learning”.
“It is crucial that students who hold the future of Thailand gain English ability,” Education Ministry inspector-general Thipsuda Sumethsenee said at this year's TET programme opening. “They need to appreciate the importance and find motivations to become part of the English-speaking world,” she said.
This year, 142 English teaching assistants (ETAs), who are undergraduates and recent graduates from 35 British universities, will participate in this programme at 92 host schools, both state and private, in 45 provinces across Thailand.
“Opportunity, partnership and friendship are the three words that ran into my mind when I came to this event,” said the British Embassy’s UK trade and investment director, Marcus Winsley.
“It cannot be denied that English is gradually becoming a part of Thailand, as it is also regarded as the official language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”
“The programme aims to build up motivation through new styles of teaching. The students can enjoy classes while learning. They will also have opportunities to learn about the UK and about themselves through the cultural exchange,” said Fred Evans, director of programmes of the British Council Thailand.
“Thai students' English skills are not inferior to those of other countries, but we lack the courage to communicate with native speakers. It is difficult to expect an immediate result from this two-month teaching period but the programme would provide the first step to build students’ motivation and enthusiasm for learning English,” said Duriya Amatavivat, director of the Education Ministry’s bureau of international cooperation. She also revealed a plan to prolong the TET programme’s period of time to cover a whole semester or one year, in hopes of providing continuity and to raise more effective results in the students' learning skills.
“I know there are students with good grammar in class but they might not get a chance to use their speaking skills. So hopefully I can encourage them to gain the confidence in using English in their work environment,” said Tom Lavin from the University of Nottingham, one of this year's TET teaching assistants.