Educational Institutions in Thailand Open More Courses in ASEAN Languages

Posted on 19 March 2013 by ABPC

With Thailand looking to play a major role in ASEAN Community, the country has recognised the need to open more courses in ASEAN languages. The following article is taken from the website:
As Thailand is moving toward the ASEAN Community in 2015, several educational institutions in the country are opening more courses in ASEAN languages, while enhancing the people’s English-language skills.

Naresuan University in Phitsanulok province has introduced new programs teaching Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, and Tagalog, which is spoken in the Philippines.

Assistant Professor Wirat Niyomtham of the Faculty of Humanities, Naresuan University, said that these ASEAN languages, together with local dialects, such as Hmong, Thai Yai, and Karen, are taught for both students and the general public. The ASEAN language program is opened at the master degree as well, in preparation for ASEAN integration.

Assistant Professor Wirat said that, since Naresuan University is an educational institution located in the northern region of the country, it attaches great importance to local people living in the Eastern Economic Corridor area, linking with Laos and Myanmar. The university has established a Myanmar study center offering the Myanmar language as an elective subject for students at the bachelor degree level. It has also cooperated with universities in Yangon in exchanging teaching personnel.

He said that several large private companies, especially those investing in producing consumer goods in Myanmar, have shown an intention to recruit more graduates learning the Myanmar language to work with them.

Meanwhile, Mahidol University is launching a pilot project for a number of Thai students to visit Cambodian and Indonesian universities to learn more about ASEAN partners. The project, which will begin in April 2013, is divided into two types. The first type is a road trip to be organized for a short period. In the second type, participating students will be sent to study comparative civilization for about one month in the ASEAN universities. They are required to work as a team, join field trips, and write a report on what they have learned for their credits.

Students to be selected for the project must have a good command of English so that they will be able to interact with students of different cultures.

As English will be the working language of ASEAN, all educational institutions are seeking ways to improve English skills for both students and personnel. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Education shows that more than 600 schools want native English speakers to teach the English language. The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, in its recent meeting with other government agencies responsible for the mobilization of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, called on various agencies to help develop English for communication for the Thai people.

Apart from English-language skills, the meeting also mentioned four urgent issues to be implemented that would move nations toward the ASEAN Community 2015. The issues include drug prevention and control among young people, anti-human trafficking, the reduction of social and cultural impacts from ASEAN integration, and campaigns for ASEAN awareness.

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