Language Schools Profiting From AEC's Imminent Launch

    The report originally
    appeared in Prachachart

    (10 September) As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
    (ASEAN) is anticipating the integration into an Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, the ability to
    communicate in English is more sought after by many Thais than ever.

    The fact is proven by
    the statistics showing that the number of people enrolling in English Extracurricular class is
    expected to rise approximately 20% a year.

    Research for Kasikorn Research Centre shows that the students enrolling in English Schools have increased from 432,000 students in 2012, to 518,000
    in 2013. The centre also expected that number of prospect students after the integration of the AEC
    in 2015, is going to be approximately 746,000 students, resulting in 20% growth per
    annum.

    Mr. Pongsakron Eiam-Ong, Director of New Cambridge Thailand, an English teaching
    institution which has its two branches in Bangkok (Chidlom and ZEN), and another in Nakhon Pathom
    (Salaya), said that his institution is aiming for new strategy to attract more
    students.

    “Our institution standard remains high as we only hire native English speakers with
    qualifications in teaching English” said New Cambridge director, “However, there are many news
    players in the field, and we must develop our lesson constantly to keep ourselves on the
    top.”

    The school is now aiming to open its new branch at Paradise Park in 2014, and looking
    forward to the launch of its first Chinese branch in Shanghai in late 2014. Laos and Myanmar are
    also projected to be targeted locations after the integration of AEC.

    “We are developing
    i-Learning programme, an online lessons which allow students to access our learning materials via
    computers and smartphones.” Mr. Pongsakorn added “the material includes videos, interactive
    classrooms, and instant test. The project is expected to cost at least 10 million baht and will be
    launched in 5 months from now.”

    Mr. Pongsakorn said it is unavoidable that the students
    sometimes move to other institutions due to high tuition fees, but many has returned as they find New
    Cambridge qualify their satisfactions.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Chris Gibson, director of British
    Council Thailand, said that his institution wished to attract more students to welcome the AEC as
    well.

    The uniqueness of British Council, according to Mr. Gibson, is that the school listens
    to their customers, and responds to their expectations. The institution also strongly focuses on the
    teachers’ qualifications and work experiences.

    The school also offers many classes flexible
    to the students’ schedules and locations, and remains highly student-centred, he said.

    The
    Chaengwattana branch – the one and only British Council centre in Nonthaburi – recently qualified
    for Excellent Learning Centre, and will be a role model for English teaching methods in the province,
    Mr. Gibson continued.

    The institution also has its other 4 branches located in Bangkok and
    another one in Chiang Mai, and still plans for further expansion in 2-3 years to increase its
    accessibility in respond to increasing demands.

    Total market value of the English Language
    Schools in Thailand grows at 22% each year, and sits at approximately 7,373 million baht in 2013.
    The value is expected to rise to 9,007 million and 11,023 million respectively in
    2014-2015.

    However, big institutions gain more from their reputation and grow 34% each year,
    resulting it 3,441 million baht for their net values. Medium and small language schools only grow at 18%
    a year as their values share 7,582 million baht of the market.