Although many countries in East Asia have continually improved English curriculum policies to upgrade the standards of English teaching and to stay competitive in the global economy, only a few have had the impact they projected, mostly because they lacked qualified school teachers. As the Ministry of Education in Thailand has promoted school-based English as a Foreign Language (EFL) curriculum and syllabus development to empower local school teachers to plan and design their own language education programs, not only in-service teachers’ but also student teachers’ perceptions play a vital role in determining their readiness to take the active
role required by the educational reform policy. Through a focus group discussion, this case study aims to uncover Thai EFL student teachers’ perceptions of the language syllabus and the role of syllabuses in language teaching and learning. The results suggest that teacher training programs should develop a thorough understanding of language syllabuses for pre-service teachers, and prepare them for taking on the role of independent syllabus designers. This case study raises an awareness of the significant role of teacher education in developing autonomous teachers who can independently develop curricula and syllabuses, particularly in contexts where English curriculum and syllabus development used to be centralized.