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Thailand schools employ unqualified foreigners


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Two girls’ claims of working as foreign English teachers in Thailand without any qualifications have sparked heated discussions on social media

Two girls working as foreign English teachers at a Thai public school have been heavily criticized online for posting on TikTok praising their unqualified work at a public school.

The postings, in which the teachers boasted of working “without qualifications”, quickly attracted comments from outraged users questioning the girls’ suitability to work as teachers. And some called on the authorities to investigate.

“Being able to speak English doesn’t mean you can teach English,” one commenter wrote.

“That’s how you can lose your job,” wrote another.

A video posted under the name Lily Kelsey, which has since been deleted along with the account, showed the women performing a seemingly mocking dance.

“You guys can’t travel forever when you go to university or get a job?” – read the first of the two captions.

“We are in a random town in Thailand teaching children with no qualifications,” a second caption read.

The date the video was posted is unknown. The video went viral after being posted on social network X (formerly Twitter). On that platform alone, the video was viewed by more than 17 million people and made 42,000 reposts.

One of the commenters wondered whether the women even had high school diplomas, which is a prerequisite for teaching in public schools. The girl responded with a challenge, according to screenshots of the original post.

“I’m making a difference in the lives of children, so yes, I will continue,” she replied.

In the next publication, the girls posed already with smiling police officers. The girls also revealed that they were reimbursed $1,100 for their flight, food and accommodation. A little later, the girl’s account was deactivated.

A number of comments point out the unfairness that qualified Thai teachers continue to earn less than foreign teachers. Others blame schools for not doing background checks on foreign teachers.

“Thais are so enthusiastic about learning English with native speakers, but most foreign teachers who come to teach in Thailand are actually uneducated (not all). They just use English because they were born with it and then live in Thailand obsessed with accents,” wrote a Twitter user.

Employment agencies are to blame, said Adam Pavlakovic, manager of the Foreign Teachers Network.

“It’s not the school’s fault, it’s the agencies’ fault,” Adam revealed. “Many agencies in Thailand not only dishonestly deduct teachers’ salaries, but they also hire people with no degree or qualifications and forge their documents.”

Teaching in Thailand requires English teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. Non-degree holders need a certificate to teach English as a foreign language and can volunteer to gain experience in schools.

Schools hiring foreigners without any qualifications is nothing new. Thailand ranks 97th in the world and penultimate among its ASEAN neighbours in terms of average English proficiency in 111 countries and regions.

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