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Improving English skills

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ASEAN integration in 2015 may make English a lingua franca. Learning ASEAN languages will be important. 

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ASEAN COMMUNITY: Thai students 'must learn languages' by Thanida Tansubhapol

asean flagsThai students have been urged to improve their English and also learn a third language so they can compete with people from other Southeast Asian nations when the region becomes a single economic community of more than 600 million people in 2015.

Sakkarin Niyomsilpa, a demographic expert at Mahidol University's Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), said Thailand's weakness was its language limitations, especially in English. He said Filipino labourers could speak better English than Thais, giving them a much better chance of getting hired in other countries.

It was now time for Thai students to improve their English and learn a third language such as Vietnamese, Bahasa, Japanese or Korean, he added.

Mr Sakkarin said if the education system and students paid no attention to language improvement, Thailand might lose its competitive edge to Vietnam as many Vietnamese could now speak English or even Thai.

He recently addressed an IPSR seminar entitled "A Turning Point For The Thai Population; A Turning Point For Thai Society" that discussed the kingdom's situation as it prepares for the launch of the Asean Community.

The community's vision of achieving the "three pillars" of security, sociocultural and economic integration was brought forward from 2020 to 2015 to quicken integration in view of growing competition around the globe.

Apart from language improvement, Mr Sakkarin called on the government to develop more skilled workers for the automotive, electronics, mechanical and petrochemical industries, while more students should be trained in tourism and medical services.

He said there would soon be plenty of competition among these industries and businesses in the region.

Mr Sakkarin added that migration in Asia would double in the next decade and this could pose a problem for Thailand if it was not prepared to cope with the situation.

He said the number of transnational labourers may dramatically increase after Asean becomes a single community. Thailand should tighten its immigration system to prevent any problems, he said.

(Source: ASEAN COMMUNITY, Thai students 'must learn languages', 20/06/2011, Thanida Tansubhapol, link)

ASEAN Vocabulary

the organisation for regional cooperation between Southeast Asian states (Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Myanmar) (See Wikipedia)

economic community -
a group of countries that cooperate and work together economically (economic integration), before the EU there was a "European Economic Community"
ASEAN community - all the countries that are members of ASEAN and their citizens

vision - the ability to imagine how a country, society, industry, etc. could develop in the future and to plan in a suitable way วิสัยทัศน์
ASEAN community's vision for the future - the different ways that ASEAN countries and peoples will be "integrated" and work together in the future (three pillars of ASEAN)

- tall solid supports for a building เสาหิน ตอหม้อ หรือ คานรับน้ำหนัก
three pillars of ASEAN - according to the 2003 ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN community will be built upon three pillars: 1. Political and security cooperation, 2. Economic cooperation, 3. Socio-cultural cooperation (Source: ASEAN Summit in Wikipedia)

security - the activity of making safe or protecting from harm (here involving the military protecting countries from threats outside the region)
integration - the process of combining with others to create a single unit or system การรวมเข้าด้วยกัน, การผสมผสาน
brought forward - change date to an earlier, make something happen sooner

migration - moving from one place to another place to live or work การอพยพ
immigration - 1. people coming into a country to travel, live, and work there, 2. the controls that governments place on flows of people into the country การย้ายถิ่นฐาน

- involving more than one country; present in more than one country ข้ามชาติ

Bahasa - the Malay language (with anncient origins) spoken in modern slightly different languages in both Indonesia and Malaysia (See Wikipedia)

lingua franca - a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different (See Wikipedia)

General Vocabulary

urged - advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน
improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
demographic - regarding the population of a country or area (See Wikipedia and also see Wikipedia on demographics of Thailand)
chance - what happens when you don't control events (example: gambling = games of chance)

paid no attention to - are not concerned with, do not use and devote much energy to this activity
improvement - when something gets better or when you make it better การปรับปรุง, การทำให้ดีขึ้น

competitive - involving competition, working to win scarce limited resources (that not everyone can get) มีการแข่งขัน
competitive edge - having the skill to necessary to win in competition
lose its competitive edge - losing the skills needed to win

entitled -
has the name
turning point - a point in time when a big change takes place
launch - to start something new เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มต้น, เริ่มทำ

petrochemical - chemicals made from oil ปิโตรเคมี
plenty - having more than enough of what you need to live อุดมสมบูรณ์
double - to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
decade - a period of ten years ทศวรรษ, ระยะเวลา 10 ปี
pose - cause something, especially a problem or difficulty เป็นเหตุให้
cope - to deal successfully with a difficult situation รับมือกับ (See glossary)
dramatically - in a big way อย่างใหญ่หลวง

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