Council to test all English teachers

A teacher monitors her English class at the Chetupon Commercial College, which prepares students for the ASEAN economic community. (Photo by Panupong Changchai)

Thai and native English language teachers will have their knowledge certified by the Khurusapha Teachers’ Council as part of a plan to assure students that they have teachers with “real” English abilities.

The decision was unveiled by Deputy Permanent Secretary for Education Chaiyot Imsuwan on Wednesday, referring to a proposal by a task force looking for ways to improve the English skills of Thai students.

The group suggested that Khurusapha issue certificates to Thais and native English speakers who can prove they are qualified for English teaching jobs in the education sector.

The British Council, which organizes English lessons and tests, could be asked to provide advice on ways to test teachers’ skills as well as their teaching skills, said Mr Chaiyot, also acting general secretary of Khurusapha. .

According to the Ministry of Education, native Thai speakers and teachers must obtain a degree in education to teach in primary and secondary schools.

Those without such a degree may be allowed to teach for a while, but still need to undergo additional training to obtain teaching licenses, Chaiyot said.

However, according to the plan, the new certificates approved by Khurusapha and the British Council will immediately give them the right to teach English.

This method could help the government swell the ranks of qualified English teachers, who are in short supply, Chaiyot said.

It’s also a good way to weed out some native speakers who may have adequate language skills, but may just be “Khao San Road tourists wanting to work as teachers”, he said.

While qualified teachers are likely to welcome the plan, observers say Khurusapha needs to think about how to help teachers who don’t have English as a major qualification adjust to the new criteria.

Jirachaya Jaranai, head of the foreign language department at Phyathai School, said she thinks the move could help raise the level of English teachers, especially those who don’t have a degree in education and who may not be as proficient as English majors.

“But the government must give them [non-English majors] time to get better,” she says.

“If they fail the [skill] tests, they should be given a chance to try again. »