Globalization is a key driver of change as countries around the world are increasingly adopting international education standards such as the Bologna accord and Washington accord for credential transfer. In ASEAN, there is a new wave of international standardization as more member states of ASEAN are adopting international English standards such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).  ASEAN has already declared that English is the official language of ASEAN.


In the Philippines, a national research study has been done with a sample of over 10,000 students that measures the English language proficiency of graduating college students against the CEFR using the TOEIC tests which is the most popular English language assessment in the world for workplace English with gold-standard psychometric properties (internal consistency of > 0.96) and continual validation research involving over 7 million test takers yearly.

In Vietnam they are investing over USD $450 million in the National Foreign Languages project 2020 that aims to have teachers reach an English proficiency level of CEFR B2 (equivalent to TOEIC 785) and high school graduates that achieve a level of CEFR B1 (equivalent to TOEIC 550).  (Source:
In Malaysia, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has published a national English language roadmap (2015-2025) which aims to up-skill the country’s 40,000 English language teachers to achieve a level of CEFR C1 (equivalent to TOEIC 945) and already claims that over 50% of English language teachers meet the standards set. (Source:
In Thailand, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has begun aligning curriculum and instruction with the CEFR since 2015 and sets the following goals for its Basic Education graduates:
By the end of Prathom 6 (Grade 6) students should have reached A1 proficiency (equivalent to TOEIC 120)
By the end of Mathayom 3 (Grade 9) students should have reached A2 proficiency (equivalent to TOEIC 225)
By the end of Mathayom 6 (Grade 12) students should have reached B1 proficiency (equivalent to TOEIC 550)

Even countries with strong local economies and a widely accepted language are adopting strong English language policies. In 2018, the French prime minister announced that all high school and college students are to pass the TOEIC or BULATS English assessments prior to graduation. Likewise the Japanese Prime Minister has also announced that beginning 2021, all University entrance exams shall be based on external language certifications such as the TOEIC, TOEFL assessments. As our ASEAN neighbours and the most developed economies adopt English language standards, it may be within our lifetimes that the whole world is speaking a common language.


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