ZURICH, November 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Scandinavian Countries Continue to Lead Rankings, as Asia Races Ahead of Latin America and the Middle East in English Ability
EF Education First, the global leader in international education, today published the results of this year's EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) - the world's most comprehensive ranking of English ability. In addition to ranking 60 countries and territories by their English skills, the EF EPI for the first time includes an analysis of English proficiency trends over a six-year period that has seen intense investment in English language learning. The EF EPI also finds correlations between the English skills of a nation's workforce and the country's economic outlook.
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"Comparison of countries with their neighbours, trading partners, and rivals provides a fascinating study in divergent national priorities and educational policies worldwide," said Dr.Christopher McCormick, Head of EF's Academic Affairs and Research Network. "We found that by engaging in a national dialogue about English, stakeholders can help align goals, improve incentives, and focus on teaching English for communication. The economic impact of such a coordinated program is clear."
This year's country rankings are based on tests taken by 750,000 adults from 60 countries in 2012. The analysis of evolving English proficiency over a six-year period (2007 to 2012 inclusive) uses test data from nearly five million adults.
Key findings include:
- Some Asian countries, in particular Indonesia and Vietnam, have transformed their English proficiency over the six-year period. China has also improved, although less dramatically. Japan and South Korea, despite enormous private investments, have declined slightly.
- Across the board, English language skills are improving in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). This year, India and Russia have moved ahead of China, and Brazil is closing in fast.
- While the rest of Europe is already proficient in English or steadily working towards that goal, France is on an entirely different trajectory. The seven countries with the strongest English are all small European nations, whose size compels them to adopt an international outlook.
- The Middle East and North Africa are the weakest regions in English. These oil-rich nations have staked their futures on developing knowledge economies before their oil production peaks. An exception to the region's lackluster performance is the United Arab Emirates, which has improved significantly.
- Turkey has improved the most of any nation over the six-year period. This is a positive trend, coming as the country continues to develop according to a number of economic factors.
- Poland and Hungary have made tremendous progress in learning English. These new English skills are an important step towards building the knowledge economies they aspire to have.
- Poor English remains one of the key competitive weaknesses of Latin America. Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Chile have improved, but they still lack the large base of competent English speakers necessary for a globalized workforce. Some countries in the region, including Mexico and Guatemala, have declining English proficiency.
Published by EF Education First, the world's leading international education company, the EF English Proficiency Index is the largest ranking of English skills. The full EF EPI ranking for 2013 is below. Additional analysis and graphs are available at: http://www.ef.com/epi/
Future editions of the EF EPI will feature data from the EF Test of English -the world's first free standardized English test available online to any English learner.
EF Education First (http://www.ef.com) was established in 1965 with the mission to break down barriers of language, culture, and geography. With 460 schools and offices in over 50 countries, EF specializes in language learning, educational travel, academic degrees, and cultural exchange programs. EF served as the Official Language Training Supplier of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and is currently the Official Language Training Supplier of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
EF English Proficiency Index Third Edition
Rank Country 1 Sweden 2 Norway 3 Netherlands 4 Estonia 5 Denmark 6 Austria 7 Finland 8 Poland 9 Hungary 10 Slovenia 11 Malaysia 12 Singapore 13 Belgium 14 Germany 15 Latvia 16 Switzerland 17 Portugal 18 Slovakia 19 Argentina 20 Czech Republic 21 India 22 Hong Kong SAR 23 Spain 24 South Korea 25 Indonesia 26 Japan 27 Ukraine 28 Vietnam 29 Uruguay 30 Sri Lanka 31 Russia 32 Italy 33 Taiwan 34 China 35 France 36 United Arab Emirates 37 Costa Rica 38 Brazil 39 Peru 40 Mexico 41 Turkey 42 Iran 43 Egypt 44 Chile 45 Morocco 46 Colombia 47 Kuwait 48 Ecuador 49 Venezuela 50 Jordan 51 Qatar 52 Guatemala 53 El Salvador 54 Libya 55 Thailand 56 Panama 57 Kazakhstan 58 Algeria 59 Saudi Arabia 60 Iraq
SOURCE EF Education First