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Thailand clarifies position on English language teachers from Ireland

The Teachers’ Council of Thailand has clarified that Irish citizens are not required to prove their proficiency in English through testing before being allowed to teach in the country.

Image: seetefl via Creative Commons/Flickr

THE TEACHERS’ COUNCIL of Thailand (TCT) has clarified its policy regarding English language teachers from the Republic of Ireland.

At the beginning of April, the TCT updated its the rules of eligibility regarding provisional teaching permits, which identified a list of countries from which citizens were recognised as native English speakers.

Citizens from nations not included on the TCT list would be required to undertake – and pay for – a series of proficiency tests (TOEIC) to prove they can communicate in English before being allowed to work as a language teacher in the Thailand. Fees for TOEIC tests vary from country to country, with one centre in Bangkok charging about €40 per test, with  prospective teachers having to take several in order to prove a range of language skills (ie listening, reading, writing and speaking abilities).

Citizens hailing from only five countries were considered “native English speakers” under the changes made last April and, therefore, entitled to TCT provisional teaching permit – those countries were named as: “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, The United States of America, Commonwealth of Australia, New Zealand and Canada”.

As the Republic was not included on the list, it indicated that Irish citizens wishing to teach English as a foreign language in Thailand would have to take a TOEIC test to prove their proficiency – apart from having to gain any teaching qualifications required for a position.

However, the TCT has since clarified its position, stating that citizens from the Republic are also considered to be native English speakers and therefore do not have to prove proficiency.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told TheJournal.ie that the clarification was made in late July.

Read: Irish citizens not recognised as ‘native’ English speakers in Thailand>

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