This monograph reports on the findings drawn from a research study focusing on English as a subject in basic education (ESBE) in the education systems of ten member states of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The member states are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The term ‘ESBE’ is used in this monograph to cover the teaching of English as a subject in basic education, which encompasses primary and secondary education in public schools. This monograph takes a comparative approach to the policies and practices concerning ESBE in all ASEAN member states. It discusses issues pertinent to ideological contestation and ESBE language education policies, ESBE in the ASEAN curricula and multilingualism, challenges surrounding the implementation of ESBE, ESBE teachers and teacher education, and how ESBE relates to ASEAN Integration and English varieties.


“This welcome monograph provides much-needed research on English as a subject in basic education (ESBE) in the education systems of the ten Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states. The cultural, ethnic, political and economic diversity of the region has led to considerable differences in the status and role of English in the region. Drawing on official documents, published studies and research data, considerable insights are provided into English in diverse contexts. Different concepts of ESBE are explored together with challenges in implementation, issues concerning teachers and teacher education, and the role of ESBE in regional integration. English is discussed in relation to national languages, indigenous languages and other foreign languages. The research is current and includes a discussion of the increased use of educational technologies. Valuable research directions and policy recommendations are given. Teachers, scholars and policy makers will find well-presented data and theoretically grounded interpretations, making this an important resource for understanding the complex dynamics of English in education systems in ASEAN.

— Azirah Hashim Professor, Universiti Malaya, Malaysia, Senior Fellow/Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Freiburg, Germany

“This research-based monograph is densely packed with descriptions and analyses of ESBE in ASEAN countries. I strongly recommend the book to students, teachers, academics, teacher educators and policy makers. The methods used to collect and analyse data in this book are clearly described. The book may help teach students and language education scholars on how to triangulate policy documents, statistics, published studies and research data in looking into policy issues and how to report them in a compact publication like this one. In addition to an insightful discussion on language ideologies, the book also contains an enlightening examination of the problems in implementing ESBE throughout the ten ASEAN nations, including concerns relating to ESBE instructors and teacher education, as well as the function of ESBE in the context of ASEAN integration. In a nutshell, this book is a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in English language education in ASEAN.”

— Fuad Abdul Hamied Former President of Asia TEFL, Professor of language education at Indonesia University of Education, Indonesia, Executive Director of AsTEN (Association of Southeast Asia Teacher Education Network) Teacher Education Quality Assurance Agency