European standards set for language

The Education Ministry has decided to implement the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in the learning and teaching of English in some schools in the coming academic year.

The plan was announced recently at a seminar entitled, "Policy on the Reform of English Learning and Teaching''. About 100 school directors attended the seminar, which was chaired by caretaker Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng.

Mr Chaturon said he wanted to see the CEFR applied in some schools as a starting step.

He said the ministry held the seminar to discuss how to put a ministerial announcement on English education reform, especially the CEFR, into practice.

 "If schools put the CEFR into practice effectively, I believe Thai students' English skills will be improved and students will be able to compete with foreign students in other countries,'' he said.   

Last January, Mr Chaturon signed a ministerial announcement on English learning and teaching reform that provided several approaches to basic education for schools to follow and develop English-language education.

It says CEFR will help better evaluate English-language knowledge and efficiency of both students and teachers, and the results can be applied to design and develop English lessons, teaching and learning methods.

Other approaches are a shift from grammatical to communicative language teaching, an increase in numbers of English and international programmes and language activity organisations.

Watanaporn Rangubtook, director of the Office of the Basic Education Commission's English Language Institute, said that all secondary-level and some primary-level teachers who have taught English would soon sit the CEFR examination to assess their knowledge and skills in order to provide them with proper training.

"Explanations about the CEFR will be made to all schools soon," she said.

"Then, English lessons, learning and teaching methods and evaluations should be based on the CEFR standard

CEFR divides foreign language proficiency into six levels.

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