I am a an M5 student in Thai education system. First of all, I would like to express my opinion and my take on the subject of 'Thais speaking English' from my own perspective. It is to be noted that I have always studied in certain renowned schools since Prathom, so there might be something I miss. And I would like to apologize for that in advance.
The main issue occurring in all places is the inability to utilize the language efficiently in all skills (reading, listening, writing, speaking) Even the study I received can be said to have better standards than those in rural areas. Most students are unable to speak or express their sophisticated opinions in English, despite their hours of in-school study and extra lessons.
Why is that so? Because there is no reason we should be able to speak or write fluently since there is no evaluation of such skills in our entrance exam. The understanding of this tragic fact seems to be established among almost all Thai teachers. Students have no ground knowledge and are not accustomed to the language. A lot of my friends still say that they don’t understand what a foreign teacher was saying most of the time.
Most foreign teachers are often disappointed in the education system by our inability to interact with them. But from a student point a view, I can see that most students don’t even care if they can speak English or use English properly as long as they get good grades from the exam.
I think that the most efficient way to change is to adjust evaluation process in schools, improve quality of teachers, and put a little more care into each student, as language has always been a hard thing to be taught. Language itself can be very hard to be taught because Thais don’t use it daily. Encouraging us to love the language and provide us exciting and unconventional ways to study would be really great.