Thai students prefer Asian languages over European
BANGKOK (Yonhap) -- Chinese, Japanese and Korean are the three most popular second foreign languages for Thai students, a local survey found Tuesday.
The survey of students at 700 schools by the Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC) showed some 300,000 students chose to study Chinese as their second foreign language, with 34,000 opting for Japanese and another 12,000 learning Korean. All Thai students study English as their first foreign language.
"Japanese and Korean are gaining popularity in schools," Usanee Watanapan, deputy director of the OBEC, was quoted in a local media report as saying, adding the increase in popularity of Asian languages comes after lingering European economic uncertainty.
"French was the most selected second foreign language in Thai schools in the past," Watanapan said. "However, the number of students studying Asian languages rose with the downfall of European economies and the growth of Asian economies."
Ahead of the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community slated for 2015, interest in Asian languages is expected to grow further, the report added. (Yonhap)