Britain is the home of high quality English language teaching and is joining forces in a new and enlarged professional association called English UK, backed by the British Council. This comes at a time when global competition for English language students is more fierce than ever. While Britain can claim to have pioneered the concept of providing short, intensive language courses, and dominated the market for much of the past 50 years, other countries, principally Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, are now competing more aggressively for a share of shifting and in some cases diminishing student markets. Membership of English UK is only open to institutions that have been inspected as part of a special accreditation scheme for ELT providers; run by the British Council. According to Tony Millns, this accreditation scheme and the quality it guarantees will be the main weapon in protecting Britain&acute;s share of an estimated 900,000- strong global ELT student market. Estimates of the number of non- accredited schools range from 550, a figure arrived at by the British Council, to 1,100, according to English UK. Research also suggests that the majority of non-accredited schools are genuine. The Thai education system seems to be divided into two distinct parts; government run schools, which are greatly underfunded , overcrowded and poorly managed. Therefore, the standard of education offered is substandard. On the other hand, there are the private schools that have adequate funding on a fees basis to provide better trained teachers, adequate materials, and good class numbers. Obviously the better off can afford to use these schools, leaving the poorer sections at a severe disadvantage. However, Thailand?s Education Policy is still mostly based on their 1997 Constitution and the 1999 Education Act. Some of their aims include: 1 Emphasize quality, efficiency and justice in the management of public education at all levels.
2 Establish community colleges, particularly in provinces where institutions of higher education are still needed. 3 Promote the integration of education, religion, culture and sports into the educational and training curriculum offered to children and youth.
4 Reform the learning process through the "learner-centered approach", self-education and life-long education
5 Reform and improve the quality of vocational training, upgrading the curriculum of vocational schools so that they can confer bachelor&acute;s degrees.
In my opinion, education should be available to all, without exception. It should not be dependent on income or other perceived advantage. Strong, unambiguous educational policy, should be seen to be enforced with regular inspection of all educational facilities; governmental or private schools and colleges. Academic policies should not remain static because educational needs evolve due to external influences such as technological advances. Therefore, policy should be seen to evolve alongside and ideally, pre-empt these evolutions. Teachers generally, TEFL or otherwise, aim to provide and improve teaching standards. They acknowledge that this cannot be achieved in isolation and will need the full support of internal and external agencies.
From the Guardian Weekly (Online) Conclusions drawn from Guardian Article the chief executive of English UK British Council&acute;s research From an article discussing school funding in Thailand Conclusions drawn from various opinions: teacher?s forum The Government is determined to launch educational reforms with the aim of developing Thailand into a knowledge-based society.
Bibliography http://www.eslbase.com/advice/thailand.asp See footnotes 6 & 7 http://dir3.nipa.co.th/?p=non+accredited+tefl+courses&prov=utf8&dm= (Thursday May 20, 2004 Guardian Weekly ) See footnotes 1-4 http://thaiembassy.org/web/17.php See footnotes 5
Author: Liz Mackenzie
Date of post: 2006-05-12