Universities want English entry tests

Universities want English entry tests

University presidents are asking for an English version of the entrance exams for English Programme (EP) students. (File photo)
University presidents are asking for an English version of the entrance exams for English Programme (EP) students. (File photo)

The Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) has requested an English version of the national tests which students sit to apply for universities to offer more chances for English Programme (EP) students to enter tertiary education.

The call comes after CUPT received complaints from schools with EPs that their students who study in the special programmes are unable to fully understand some of the questions in the standardised exams as they are only written in Thai. The Thai tests are the Ordinary National Education Test (Onet), the national nine core subject examinations, the General Aptitude Test (Gat) and the Professional Aptitude Test (Pat).

CUPT secretary Prasert Kanthamanon said EPs have been launched in many public and private schools in the past six years in response to the Education Ministry's Asian Economic Community preparation project. The standardised tests for entering tertiary education should be available in both Thai and English languages, he said.

"Students studying in EPs have to study almost every subject in English and some subjects with foreign teachers. They learn almost everything in English. However, when they have to take the national exams for which scores will be used to apply for universities, they have to do it only in Thai, so they may not understand every question clearly," said Mr Prasert.

As a result, he suggested that Niets create an English-language version of all standardised tests to help EP students improve their chances to enrol in universities.

"All questions and content for English-language versions of exams should be exactly the same as the Thai-language version, but only translated into English. Moreover, students should be able to choose which versions they wish to take," he said.

Mr Prasert said CUPT has proposed this idea to the ministry through its permanent secretary Chaipreuk Sereerak, who agreed with CUPT. "We said the English-language version of all standardised tests should be available by the next academic year. However, we still have to talk in detail with Niets first," he said.

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