The committee in charge of preparing a teacher qualifications framework has decided to lower the level of English needed for its graduates following pressure from its stakeholders.
The committee’s chair Rathakorn Kidkan mentioned serious concerns that students may not be able to graduate if the English level was set too high.
Using the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Language, the Thailand Qualification Framework (TQF) initially proposed that graduates who have not majored in English attain a B2 level English, while those majoring in English would need a C1 level.
The CEFR is an international standard for describing language ability using a six point scaling ranging from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for the those who mastered a language.
For a B2 level: a person must be able to achieve most goals for that level and express themselves on a range of topics.
For C1: a person must be able to communicate in English with a significant degree of fluency based on appropriate use, sensitivity an the capacity to deal with unfamiliar topics.
Most students in teacher-education programmes current English level stands at A1 and A2, according to Rathakorm.
For A1: a person must have a basic ability to communicate and exchange information in a simple way.
For A2: a person much have an ability to deal with simple, straightforward information and begin to express oneself in familiar contexts.
Hence most of the committee have the opinion that the initial proposed English level of B2 and C1 should “not be mentioned in the TQF”.
Although the committee is willing to admit that English speaking is an important skill, they will lower the level of non-English major graduates from B2 to B1, and for English majors from C1 to B2.
For B1: a person must be able to express themselves in a limited way in a familiar situations and to deal in a general way with non-routine information.
Although potentially appearing counter productive to future generations English education, the committee will now make a clear plan on how to improve teacher-education graduates English.
SOURCE: The Nation
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