English skills in Thailand

English skills in Thailand
Children in Thailand have English classes for 12 years, however their skills drop.

Thailand has dropped 11 spots in Education First’s English skills ranking for non-native English speaking countries. Thailand got a 48,54 score, which categorized them in the ‘low skills group’.

What is Education First’s English skills ranking?

Education First is a Swiss language school, offering language courses all over the world. Every year they do a survey, examining the English skills of non-native English-speaking countries. in 2018, 1,3 million people took this English test on which the latest report is based upon. Countries are divided into five categories: very high, high, moderate, low and very low.

Thailand’s English skills

In 2017, Thailand jumped from the ‘very low group’ to the ‘low group’. However, in the most recent survey, Thailand dropped 11 spots in the ranking, going from place number 53 to 64 (out of 88 countries). Thailand is now second bottom of the ‘low group’. Thai people living in Central Thailand obtained the best scores, while Northeast Thailand scored the lowest. Bangkok is the city with the best English level followed by tourist hub Chiang Mai.

Concerning the gender differences, Thailand’s scores are similar to the global trend, with women having a slightly better English than men.

Thailand vs the rest of Asia

Thailand is ranked 16th out of 21 of the examined Asian countries. China and Japan, who are generally perceived as having low English skills, outrank Thailand in the EF ranking. The top three consists out of Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. The countries doing even worse than Thailand are Kazachstan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Cambodia and Uzbekistan. The global number one is Sweden.

No improvement despite investments

Each Thai student has 12 years of English classes at school during primary and secondary school. Despite this and big investments in order to improve English skills in Thailand, the scores don’t get any better. This is a trend we can see in the whole Asia though. According to the Bangkok Post, a solution could be to improve the English level of Thai teachers and to focus more on communication and less on memorization.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *