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Thai schools look to recruit 20,000 English and Chinese language teachers



Thailand’s Education Minister has announced plans to recruit up to 10,000 native English-speaking teachers. Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan says the ministry wants improve Thai students’ English-language proficiency “as soon as the situation is safe to do so”. He also noted that the Ministry also wanted to source up to 10,000 Chinese teachers as well.

He noted that there are already 7,000 foreign teachers (teaching English) working in Thai schools.

“But this is not enough… another 10,000 are required. The cabinet has earmarked funds for their recruitment.”

The ministry has already approached embassies of several native English-speaking countries so they can help source teachers who can teach English to Thai students. The minister is also intending to groups smaller, and geographically close, schools together and combine resources in rural areas to provide better and more centralised services for students.

“A large number of native English-speaking teachers are necessary as we are working on upgrading the education system. One of the countries we are talking to is Canada which sends many teachers to Japan,” he said at an International Schools conference this week according to Bangkok Post.

“Foreign teachers must have some professional training to qualify for the job. A language teaching certificate is preferred.”

“Ideally, this should have started already, but due to the pandemic it’s been delayed. As soon as the situation is safe and secure enough, we will invite foreign teachers here.”

Over recent decades English has been a part of the curriculum in all Thai schools but often taught by Thai teachers whose knowledge of the language was also limited (and often parodied, mostly by themselves)…

The minister says the aim is to “improve students’ proficiency in English, boost their confidence and equip them to seek further knowledge”.

“Thai teachers will also be able to learn and benefit from native English speakers.”

The minister has developed a plan to upgrade English-language lessons from pre-school up to secondary levels.

“The best time to learn a new language is from soon after birth to the age of seven. It is easier for young children to learn a second language. For vocational students, it’s also important to boost their English proficiency as Thailand has set a target to be an investment hub for foreign investors.”

Minister Nataphol has also signalled that the ministry is also planning to recruit 10,000 native Chinese-speaking teachers to teach Chinese at Thai schools as well.

“Chinese is also one of the most important languages to learn, indeed it’s the most spoken language in the world.” (Mandarin has the largest number of native speakers in the world)

With China emerging as a global power, it is becoming increasingly more important for our future workforce to know the language.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. KT

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 11:58 am

    There are many native English teachers in Thailand!
    We can’t change to B visa because borders are closed. Please change Non-Immigrant B visa requirements instead (to be able to change visa in Thailand).

  2. Toby Andrews

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Skill with a hula hoop is an advantage for a foreign teacher.
    If not, being able to jump through hoops to enter the country will help.
    Anyone read the account, trials and tribulations, of a English teacher who already had a job in Thailand!
    A very expensive ordeal, and the Thais want more foreign teachers in their schools!
    Put the unemployed bar girls in the schools, they can speak and teach English – just.


    • Jules

      Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:40 pm

      So start by scrapping the ridiculous visa conditions for foreigners. Years ago I worked in a Thai school but the ridiculous visa requirements made me quit and leave the country. How can you attract teachers when you make it near damn impossible to meet the requirements and get rid of all the immigration staff who take perverse enjoyment in your distress.

    • Glenn

      Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 10:03 am

      🙂 not really a bad idea but for the pay decrease

    • mikael songklod

      Monday, September 14, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      a good idea.

  3. Rinky Stingpiece

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    Surely English is the language of business and science? Surely, Chinese is the language of the Chinese Communist Party?

  4. bradley wigson

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    Well, they need to open a border first of course and of course where do you get all these teachers who will accept Thai salaries for more than 6 months to a year. I saw this same thing last year. Basically they will replace the native speakers with competant filipino licenced teachers. You won’t get 10,000 native speakers. Especially canadians? ive never seen a canadian in Thailand.

    Lastly thai teachers will benefit and learn from native speakers? well maybe if you waste half their periods a week on teaching thai adults or you overload them.

    You can’t invite foreign teachers, they come if they want to. Anyone invited is generally on a six month contract to experience Thailand and then they go home.

  5. Paul Jones

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    They will be lucky teachers in Japan are paid three times what they are in Thailand. Thats why Japan can recruit them.

  6. joshua stone

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    The bar girls thing is a good idea, about as good as them wanting to get native speakers in jail to teach the inmates english.

  7. Issan John

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. No competent, capable and qualified expat English language teacher is going to work in Thai government schools for the paltry salary paid.

    There appears, though, to be a large number of retired expats living around Thailand with time on their hands who would be happy to help out if only they were allowed to do so. The solution seems simple.

    • brad jones

      Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Those retired expats wouldn’t know what hit them. Helping out isnt the Thai school way. You have to be there 35 hours a week, 17-20 periods of that teaching. The rest planning your lessons, making activities powerpoints etc. Its not just a case of turning up and helping out. Thai schools have a very specific formal way of working. I think you’d be tiring out all those expats who simply want to lend a hand.

      But there is a route for them as classroom assistants id say helping out the foreign teachers preparing activities at primary level. Thats my opinion after three years teaching. To many foreign teachers are left alone in the classroom with no support with kids who don’t largely speak english and have different views on acceptable behaviour.

      After that the expat could look at the teachers workload and see if he wants to get involved or not.

      • Issan John

        Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 3:42 pm

        Agree with you, Brad, but we’re talking at cross purposes.

        I’m talking about what many retirees have suggested and offered, and what could be easily viable in ‘up-country’ schools.

        You’re talking about fully employed full-time teachers, doing the same job as Thai teachers for the same pay. Why you (or anyone else with the experience, qualifications and skills required) are willing to do so for the salary offered beats me – and if it’s “job satisfaction” or “the kids” there’s no shortage of similar opportunities elsewhere with far better pay.

        • brad jones

          Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 11:28 am

          John its not the case that we are paid the same as thai teachers a new graduate thai is on 15,000 per month in a government school whereas we start on around 35,000 in most schools that’s the minimum for a native speaker, Often you find teachers with 10 years experience on less than you. They know exactly the amount a foreigner needs to be able to eat and drink whatever he wants in a thai city or village and its about 35K. You can even save money on that. In my experience of male English speakers, they are all on some sort of adventure, tend to be single and like Asian women. They stay because of the woman not the money.

          But I agree in some really small village school they could be a boon doing two hours a day or something to help raise English proficiency where there is no one willing to work for example or even on border towns. Im sure they’d love some retired natives in that situation.

  8. Bob Ume

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Wow, I’m seriously impressed by this, but they probably change there minds next week 😉

  9. handi Heng

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    Yes, that all languages are beautiful & important, it has to be relevant where you are in. It will be futile with no result to speaking Chinese in Africa where all her people speak the African language. So with English. Albeit English at this point of time is still the international language for the world – when England and USA are around, not extinct or totally destroyed from the surface of this earth while China is on the rise and her rise may not necessarily mean Chinese is the most preferred, best language – is a language of business, academia, diplomacy and science. Learning and knowing English is more than speaking with the native accent of England and USA. Jolly well good show if you can. But if cannot is no fault, setback or offence of anyone when each race/nationality has it own accent. For how fluent an America speaks Chinese,the latter still has his American accent. Same for a Filipino that converses in English. I will be able to know that the speaker is from Philippines because the latter has the very strong “tagalog” mannerism and accent. Typical Filipino. Unless you are born and raised in America like my nephews with Chinese parents from ASEAN, they really speak with American accent. No imitation. No “discrepancy”. All intact. Natural and nothing racist. What is vital in learning the English language one must be able to express his/her feeling, interest, idea and thought in correct grammar, right usage of word and good vocabulary.
    You must be yourself with the language taught and mastered. It takes time. Progressive learning. Nothing is overnight. Practise makes perfect. And it is highly commendable, a plus factor to your advantage to be able to communicate with more than one language. A second and third foreign language. Better if you are linguistic. The world is round with people of many, diverse languages. Very colorful, charming and charismatic.
    Opinion expressed herein is strictly personal. And from my voluntary teach English experience with no salary to the hill tribe students in North Thailand for missionary outreach.

    • james

      Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:12 pm


      There are hundreds of African languages, there is no such thing as “the African language”.

      Africans at an educated level speak Engish across the 40+ African countries as they do with most of the 200 hundred countries around the world.

      English is the international standard of Language for international communication and always will be just as algebra, maths, etc have different forms but there is one international standard.

      English is also the language for technical and scientific use, I have worked in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, the USA, Japan as a software engineer and all the technical specifications are in English, even when communicating with Chinese and 1.5 billion Indian clients (who also uses English with each other).

      The Chinese people are only 1.3 billion out of the 6 to 7 billion people in the world.

  10. TS

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    20,000 new native English & Chinese language teachers wanted. Funds already earmarked. Should go well! In Japan, Korea, Taiwan, ESL certified teachers make anywhere from US $1,700 to $3,000 per month or more. Some way more. Side tutoring gets them $25 and up per hour. Queues of teachers wanting massive pay cuts to teach in Thailand already forming.

    • Eddie eaglesmith

      Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 11:32 am

      completely correct. That’s why this whole article is repeated year in and out to convince the parents we are getting a load of native speakers. When they aren’t offering the package to keep them for more than a year at the outside. China as the countries you mentioned and even Vietnam pays a lot more than Thailand. Taiwan has some crazy tax thing when you first go. But other countries pay a lot more.

  11. Anh Lam

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    I am a certified TESOL and TELFA Canadian English Teacher and speaker. I have applied at many schools and universities in Thailand, guess what, French and Spanish so called english teachers get the positions every time. Tell me, someone out there in La La Land must know were to apply… I would like to know were…

    • Issan John

      Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Oddly enough the only Canadian “native English” teachers I’ve known here at government schools were Quebecois French Canadians who spoke execrable English …

      I’m sure, though, they were no worse than the lady from Cameroon who taught English at one of the local schools who thought her students were so polite because they all called her “Maa-dam” …

    • Sammie Sim

      Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 9:07 pm

      Sorry to hear your plight, Thailand wants a native English speaking teacher, regardless of if you are French or Spanish with just basic amount of spoken English, you would probably know how these people sounded like but as long as you are white, those Thai dickheads don’t know the difference, I supposed you are of Asian origin and you are fully qualified Tesol certified, the problem with the Thai government in selecting English teachers, they are really dumb and racist dumbass, but it’s better to teach English in Japan or South Korea with better conditions, one more thing those Thai students, they are the most stupid in the whole of South East Asia , don’t waste your effort mate, cheers.

  12. Jeff Turley

    Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    As long as the government insists on English teachers taking and passing their ridiculous exams (with terrible English, questionable education practices and poor administration) to qualify for a teaching license in the country, combined with some of the worst compensation packages in Asia, they aren’t going to be able to recruit many qualified native speakers. Requiring a legitimate university degree plus sufficient face-to-face training in language instruction (TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, etc.) should be sufficient for the jobs they are expected to do here. This is the level that other Asian countries require, such as South Korea, China, Vietnam, etc. Why Thailand feels the need to make farang jump through their hoops is just another example of their unspoken policy of hating farang to live among them.

  13. J.C.

    Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 12:21 am

    > indeed it’s the most spoken language in the world

    Imagine being this clueless.

  14. Bobbo

    Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Will they provide health insurance and housing? They do rarely often not. Do not use recruiters! They are criminal scam artists If you are over 60, might not get benefits.

    • Jeff

      Monday, September 14, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      You cannot enter the Thai social security medical coverage if you are 60 or older. If you enter before age 60, you can stay in it as long as you’re working and possibly (conditions) if you’re not working.

  15. Jeff

    Monday, September 14, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    All I can do is LAUGH! Thailand is no longer a preferred destination for native speaking English teachers..or even wannabe teachers. They can go to any one of Thailand’s neighbors and make significantly more money with lower costs, have less stringent visa obligations and enjoy the same things that Thailand has to offer. Thailand’s losing ground to it’s neighbors, BIG TIME. They’re being left behind due to their backward culture being so controlled by their religion and other “old institutions”, if you know what I mean.

    Good luck getting ‘teachers” to spend $2,500 – $3,000 for RT airfare, thousands of Baht for visa regulations only to make about $1,000 US monthly. The word about the pandemic cheating of foreigners has gotten out too.

    • John

      Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 3:18 am

      > being so controlled by their religion

      Oh dear. You clearly don’t know the first thing about Thailand.

    • Rinky Stingpiece

      Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 8:36 am

      They forget that even developed countries struggle to recruit teachers, the only reason places like Thailand can get them instead is by offering better quality of life, and the chance to save up some money. There are people who will put up with low pay if the visa systems is super-friendly, but it isn’t. The system is rigid and hostile, the pay is low, the cost of living in some areas is higher than it used to be, and the beer is awful. There is a lack of long-term thinking, the way to improve English is to make it easy and appealing for people to commit to longer 3-year+ deals.

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