Travelling can be tough, especially if you don't understand the language of communication when you arrive at your destination. For many western travellers in Southeast Asian countries, it can be difficult to give instructions to taxi drivers. In Thailand, officials are reaching out to taxi drivers to boost their English speaking skills.
First reported on by Thai PBS, Thailand's airport authority is working with Thailand's Professional Qualification Institute and Skill Development Department to offer free English training courses for Thai taxi drivers. The courses will cover basic English conversation which includes greetings, and providing information about tourists destinations.
The two day course includes a first day of training, a writing test, and an interview which tests their conversational abilities in English. Drivers who pass will be given a certificate valid for three years, and can be revoked if they can't meet the standards while on the job.
Suthi Sukoson, director-general of Skill Development Department, said after the agreement signing ceremony that taxi drivers at Suvarnabhumi international airport were the first group of people giving service to foreign tourists or travelers.
“They (cabbies) represent the first line of defence to welcome the tourists and, therefore, it is necessary that they must cause impression for the tourists,” Sukoson said, adding that his department initiated the English programme, called “English for Taxi Drivers”, to provide a training course in English conversation and basic English writing to the cabbies.
The first drivers who will be elegible to undergo the training will be those who work around Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, where many foreign tourists may usually make their first stop to the country.