When talking with parents I am regularly asked exactly what an English Programme (EP) is and what are the benefits of the English Programme at Varee Chiang Mai School. To answer these questions comprehensively it’s important to provide some background to the educational initiative know as the English Programme.
In 1999 the Thai Ministry of Education passed an act that would allow and encourage schools to teach core subjects using English as the medium of instruction. This was in reply to a growing consensus that the English language skills of Thai students needed to be improved to compete with other countries in the area where students had higher English language abilities such as Singapore, India and Hong Kong. Moving into the 21st Century, English is becoming increasingly important in the global village in which we find ourselves living. English is vital for communication, tourism, trade, information technology and entertainment. So for Thailand to prosper in this new environment it was agreed that students’ English language skills needed to improve and introducing English Programmes into schools across the kingdom was seen as one way to meet these aims. As a result schools across Thailand began to develop their curricula and offer English Programmes. Examining the progress of the last 10 years, it is generally agreed that the English Program initiative has managed to achieve many of its original aims. Educators agree that the standards of English in schools around Thailand have improved over the past decade.
When choosing an academic programme parents need to be aware that although schools across the kingdom offer English Programmes there is a vast difference between the contents and the standards of these programmes. It’s important for parents to have a clear understanding of the aims and contents of a school’s English Programme before enrolling their children. Parents should also be aware that there is great difference in the amount of time that English is used for instruction, sometimes it is as low as 20%, in many schools it is about 50% and in some schools, like VCS, it is over 70%.
Choosing a school and an educational programme is one of the most important decisions a parent must make for their child. It is a decision that will greatly influence a child’s future.
The English Programme at Varee Chiang Mai School has been carefully developed to provide all students with high English language abilities in the four skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. It has also been carefully planned and structured to cover all the required criteria set down by the Thai Ministry of Education and to extend these benchmarks with the application of curricula frameworks from the United Kingdom.

Prathom students at Varee School