BANGKOK — From late 2016 all students from grade one to three will spend one hour every day learning English, the Minister of Education announced.
Gen.Daphong Rattasuwan, the Minister of Education said during his visit to a training course for English teachers Tuesday that he intended to greatly increase the hours of English learning for grade one to three students. The plan will quintuple the yearly study time from 40 hours per year at present to 200 hours.
“I believe that we will succeed if we can make young children no longer feel scared to speak and use English,” said Gen.Daphong Rattasuwan. “They will have the courage to learn, to speak, to reply and this will be a good foundation for development in higher education.”
The policy covers all schools under the care of the Ministry of Education and is scheduled to begin in the second semester of the 2016 academic year.
Grade one to three students currently study English one hour per week.
Thailand is often ranked near the bottom on tables for English proficiency, something which is identified as a weakness when competing economically with other nations. In 2015 Thailand was ranked 62 out of 70 countries in Education First’s annual English Proficiency Index , rated as the third worst in Asia trailed only by Cambodia and Mongolia.