Ministry of Education aims to recruit native English teachers
On Friday, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan, left, speaks with Usa Somboon, principal of the International School Bangkok. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
The Ministry of Education plans to recruit 10,000 native English-speaking teachers to improve the language proficiency of Thai students as soon as the situation is safe.
Speaking at a meeting held by the Association of International Schools of Thailand on Friday, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said he had asked the embassies of several English-speaking countries to find teachers who could teach English. English and other subjects in the language to Thai students, under government-to-government cooperation programs.
“A large number of native English-speaking teachers are needed as we work to modernize the education system. One of the countries we talk to is Canada, which sends many teachers to Japan,” Nataphol said. .
He said there were 7,000 foreign teachers in Thai schools but that was not enough, adding that another 10,000 were needed. He said the firm had earmarked funds for their recruitment.
“Ideally it should have started already, but due to the pandemic it has been delayed. As soon as the situation is safe and secure enough, we will invite foreign teachers here,” he said.
The aim is to improve students’ English proficiency, build their confidence and equip them to deepen their knowledge, Nataphol said, adding that Thai teachers will also be able to learn and benefit from native English speakers.
The minister said he had also drawn up a plan to improve English lessons from kindergarten to high school. However, the initial phase of the project will initially focus on early childhood education and vocational education.
“The best time to learn a new language is shortly after birth until the age of seven. It is easier for young children to learn a second language. For vocational students, it is also important improve their English proficiency because Thailand has set itself a goal to be a hub for foreign investors,” Nataphol said.
Mr Nataphol added that foreign teachers must have professional training to qualify for the job, adding that a language teaching certificate is preferable.
Apart from improving students’ English skills, Nataphol said the ministry also plans to recruit 10,000 native Chinese teachers to teach Chinese to Thai students.
“The firm has also earmarked funds for this plan. Chinese is also one of the most important languages to learn. As China becomes a global power, it is becoming increasingly important for our future workforce to know the language,” he said. .
The minister said he had set a goal to halve the number of state schools nationwide to 15,000 by merging small schools with few students and poor standards with better quality schools near. He said that by doing so, the ministry would be able to combine staff and resources, improve teaching standards and reduce the quality gap.
He added that the ministry will also revamp its curricula to equip students with skills for the 21st century by applying approaches used by international schools.