DR. RA-SHANE MEESR

Since 2015, teachers and schools across Thailand has begun the process of aligning their English language teaching with the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). This alignment with internationally recognized language standards is a positive step towards raising the standards of English in Thailand, but it is going to take strategic planning and hard work to realize these goals. The framework is used to benchmark communicative language ability in reading, writing, speaking and listening. The CEFR is divided into 3 levels; basic users (Level A), independent users (Level B) and proficient users (Level C). The Ministry of Education has set the following English language proficiency targets for students in Thailand: by the end of Prathom 6 (Grade 6) students should have reached A1 proficiency, by the end of Mathayom 3 (Grade 9) A2 proficiency, and by the end of Mathayom 6 (Grade 12) B1 proficiency. The CEFR for languages was developed by the Council of Europe over more than 20 years before being officially launched during the European Year of Languages in 2001. Since then the CEFR has grown in popularity both in Europe and across the world. Thailand is a country as dependent on foreign tourism. The targets for Grade 6 and 9 are certainly within the reach of schools that emphasize English language learning, but Grade 12 target of B1 proficiency is ambitious. It will take time and effort for them to reach this level.