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Taxi drivers at Suvarnabhumi international airport will be the first group of cabbies to be given a crash course in English conversation and basic writing free of charge.
The training courses would be provided by the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute under a cooperation agreement signed Friday (April 20) with the Skill Development Department and Airports of Thailand.
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,” he 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 programme covers basic English conversation that is normally used such as self introduction, greetings, and giving basic information about tourist destinations.
Taxi drivers at Suvarnabhumi international airport would be the first group eligible to apply to attend the training course, he said.
Pisit Rangsaritwutikul, director of Thailand Professional Qualifications Institute, said the cabbies would undergo one-day training after which they must sit a writing test.
On the second day, the cabbies will undergo interviewing test about their English speaking skill and understanding and about proper service for tourists. Those who pass the tests will be issued with a certificate which is good for three years but the certificate will be confiscated once the cabbies break the rule.
According to AOT, about 6,000 taxi drivers are in need of skill training in safe driving and in providing customer-friendly services.
Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Jantong said he expected about 1,000 taxi drivers to pass the tests this year.