English skills receive boost | Bangkok Post: learning

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English skills receive boost

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The government is urged to announce English as its second official language to spur students to achieve English proficiency and help the nation place itself on the road map to the Asean Community in 2015. 

The announcement was made by a subcommittee on education standards development working under the committee on education reform.

The subcommittee hopes it will be a boost for English teaching and learning in schools, which is seen as falling short despite state efforts to encourage students to learn the language from as early as Prathom 1 level (Grade 1), chairman Warakorn Samakoses said.

The country only has Thai as its official language.

Mr Warakorn said the government needs to take a lead role in initiating change to help students get ahead in their language studies.

By making English another official language, he said, resources such as financial aid and extra personnel will be used in the development of teaching.

He said better skills in using English are also important to Thailand as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which aims to bring its members together as one community in 2015.

Despite the growing importance of the Chinese language in the business sector, English is still considered the most influential language for international communication.

About 400 million people speak English as their mother tongue and 1.6 billion people use it as their second language, Mr Warakorn said.

In Asia, countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, Bhutan and China are eager to increase their development of English learning and teaching.

His group will discuss the proposal to make English an official language again before forwarding it to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who chairs the committee on education reform, for further consideration.

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