How will the new teaching qualification requirements in Thailand impact you?
Thailand is in the process of instituting new teaching qualification requirements for Western teachers in Thailand. If you want to teach in Thailand, according to the Thai Ministry of Education, you will have to either have these qualifications or get them. The downside is, they’re expensive and basically useless outside Thailand. The upside? Well nobody seems to have found one yet.
Here are the new regulations, as outlined in a memo to most schools in Thailand at the beginning of February, 2008:
1. All teachers in Thailand must have a BA degree and a teaching license. If they do not have a BA and a teaching license (few teachers do) then they will not be allowed to teach in Thailand.
2. For those teachers with a BA but no teaching certification from their home country they will have to take the following:
a) a 20 hour Thai Culture Course covering Thai society, Thai language and culture, Thai courtesy, Thai arts and music (why this is necessary to teach English in Thailand, nobody seems to know?) The cost for this course is 8,000 baht (approximately US $250).
b) a one year Teacher Training certification program at the cost of 80,000 baht (approximately US $2,500). (As this certification will only be valid in Thailand, you’re not likely to get many teachers willing to hand over the money for it. Not unless they plan on staying in the country for the rest of their life).
b) the teacher will have to pass four exams that are derived from current Graduate Diploma in Education courses.
3. Once all these teaching qualification requirements have been met, every foreign teacher in Thailand will have to submit the following documents before they will be deemed completely legal to teach in Thailand:
a) a completed application for a Teacher’s License
b) a copy of your passport
c) copy of evidence showing all teaching qualification requirements have been met
d) a copy of your foreign license to teach, if you have one
e) a copy of certificate of teaching operations (nobody seems to know what this means?)
f) a copy of the certificate of knowledge testing and evaluation
g) two one-inch full face photographs — passport style.
All these requirements to teach in Thailand will be required, in a country that pays on average $625 to $800 a month for qualified teachers.
Thailand already has problems finding English teachers and, due to the new regulations, teachers in Thailand are now leaving in droves.
In fact, I have three friends who are leaving next month. One is going back to England, the others are moving on to teach in Korea where salaries are higher.
Many other teachers in Thailand will not have the money to pay for the certification programs as, like I mentioned, teacher salaries here are low.
As Thailand is already near the bottom for English language skills when compared to other countries in South East Asia – this promises to push them further down the list as they will only be able to get non-Western English speakers, like Malaysians and Nepalese.
Thailand is requiring all these qualifications for teachers in government schools, bilingual schools, private schools, international schools and even in private businesses and international corporations. All requirements have to be met within three years.
What this is telling most people who know anything about education in Thailand is, there will be an enormous teacher shortage in Thailand by the year 2012 as many of the Western teachers will then be teaching elsewhere.