First Advisor

Shawn Smallman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors


Political Science


English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers, English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers -- Attitudes, English language -- Study and teaching -- Southeast Asia, Education -- Southeast Asia -- Regional disparities




The Secretary General of ASEAN asserted the importance of education and the use English in promoting and bringing prosperity to the ASEAN nations. "Through education, through the use of English language and, more importantly, with a heightened sense of ASEAN Identity and ASEAN Community, we hope that ASEAN integration and cooperation will bring both benefits and opportunities to the region" (Le Luong Minh, 2013). Taking Thailand and Singapore into consideration, it is clear that national realities vary greatly within the region in regards to English proficiency rates. Education First’s 2013 English Proficiency Index Report revealed that Singapore was the second highest English proficiency rating of the ASEAN Nations, Coming in slightly under Malaysia in the classification "High proficiency". Comparatively, Thailand ranked 55th out of 60 countries rated, falling into the "Very Low Proficiency" category. Critiques of Thailand’s low rankings tend to be blamed on a weak English education system. While this is indeed an imperative factor, to understand other factors it is important to consider the other two areas in questions: Use and Identity. These three core factors can be applied specifically to the regional goal of improving English proficiency and understanding the difficulty of creating regional policies. This study will show the relationship between English proficiency and student sentiments on education, opportunity for use, and identity.


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