EF English First targets 80% growth in Thailand

Swedish-born EF Education will this year expand its network of EF English First schools in Bangkok and major provinces in Thailand to achieve a significant growth from the Thai operation.
     Hugh Butler, academic operations managers of EF English First (Thailand), said at a marketing campaign launched on May 8 that the plan would see establishment of 10 new franchises both in Bangkok and major provinces such as Phuket, Khon Kaen and Nakon Ratchasima, according to The Nation newspaper.
     He said a growth of 80 per cent is targeted this year – a goal made convincing by the government’s policy of waiving corporate taxes on schools and the financial assistance programme provided by the SMEs Development Bank of Thailand.
     The local education market – worth around Bt3 billion – has been growing by 50 per cent a year during the past three years.
     Since its start in Thailand, EF has already established 11 EF English First schools and attracted some 2,000 students nationwide. Its new expansion plans include cost-cutting measures that will make it easier for provincial investors to set up branches.
     “The investment required will be reduced from Bt7 million to Bt4 million and the number of classrooms halved from 12 to 6,” explained Butler.
     EF focuses on the upper and middle segments of the market, said Charoenporn Wongkitcharoen, EF franchise director, pointing out that its courses are catered for all levels of students from young learners to business people.
     The newly launched marketing campaign will, among others, feature a “loyalty card” that gives students 20-50 per cent discounts on tuition fees, and offer free “conversation clubs” with native speakers.
     “We also try to attract students with affordable prices – on average Bt5,000 (for 41 hours),” said Watcharee Maknavin, an EF franchisee at Central Plaza Lat Phrao in Bangkok.
     EF Education was founded by Bertil Hult in Lund, Sweden, in 1965. It is today one of the world’s largest private educational organizations. In Southeast Asia, EF also has 37 schools in Indonesia and a school in Singapore.

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