Dutch Pass Danes to Become World's Best English Speakers

Global survey of 950,000 adults across 72 countries and territories links English proficiency with income, innovation, and quality of life

ZURICH, Nov. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Adults in the Netherlands are the best non-native English speakers in the world, followed by those in Denmark and Sweden, according to the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) released today by EF Education First. Laos, Libya, and Iraq occupy the bottom of the rankings.

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"In a volatile global economy, English proficiency is one of the few skills with proven ability to generate opportunities and strengthen employability," said Minh N. Tran, EF Director of Research. "It takes a great deal of effort and investment to steer a country or company towards a future with an English-speaking workforce. The EF EPI addresses these challenges and prompts global discussions about the best practices of language education."

Highlights of the sixth edition of the EF EPI include:

  • For the first time, an Asian country, Singapore, is in the highest proficiency band. Malaysia and the Philippines are also in the top 15 countries worldwide.
  • English proficiency in Europe remains the strongest in the world by a wide margin, while countries in the Middle East and North Africa continue to occupy the lowest ranks.
  • Of all the regions surveyed, Latin America is the only region that experienced a decline in English proficiency in the past year.
  • Countries making the most progress in English proficiency include France, Qatar, and Singapore; countries with the steepest declines include Iraq, Japan, and Peru.
  • Young adults aged 18-25 have the strongest English proficiency worldwide, although some countries have markedly different national trends.
  • Women have stronger English skills than men in almost all countries and age groups.
  • English proficiency remains a key indicator of economic competitiveness at both the individual and national levels. Higher English proficiency correlates with higher incomes, better quality of life, greater connectivity, and more dynamic business environments.

A companion to the EF EPI, the EF EPI for Companies (EF EPI-c), was also released today. The EF EPI-c is an evaluation of global workforce English skills, surveying 510,000 professionals from 40 countries and 16 industries. The report finds that executives lag behind their employees in English skills, and that countries' workforce English scores correlate positively with indicators of global innovation, government transparency, and ease of doing business.

Millions of participants took part in this year's research by completing the EF Standard English Test (EFSET), the world's first free standardized English test. The EFSET was launched in order to serve the world's two billion English language learners, who previously lacked a free, high-quality self-assessment tool. The EFSET also provides schools, companies, and governments with convenient, large-scale testing solutions.

The full reports and country fact sheets are available for download at http://www.ef.com/epi.

About EF Education First:

EF Education First (http://www.ef.com) is an international education company focusing on language, academics, education travel, and cultural experience. Established in 1965 with the mission of opening the world through education, EF has more than 500 schools and offices in over 50 countries.

EF English Proficiency Index Sixth Edition

Rank


Country


EF EPI Proficiency Band

1


Netherlands


Very High

2


Denmark


Very High

3


Sweden


Very High

4


Norway


Very High

5


Finland


Very High

6


Singapore


Very High

7


Luxembourg


Very High

8


Austria


High

9


Germany


High

10


Poland


High

11


Belgium


High

12


Malaysia


High

13


Philippines


High

14


Switzerland


High

15


Portugal


High

16


Czech Republic


High

17


Serbia


High

18


Hungary


High

19


Argentina


High

20


Romania


High

21


Slovakia


Moderate

22


India


Moderate

23


Dominican Republic


Moderate

24


Bulgaria


Moderate

25


Spain


Moderate

26


Bosnia and Herzegovina


Moderate

27


South Korea


Moderate

28


Italy


Moderate

29


France


Moderate

30


Hong Kong


Moderate

31


Vietnam


Moderate

32


Indonesia


Moderate

33


Taiwan


Moderate

34


Russia


Low

35


Japan


Low

36


Uruguay


Low

37


Macau


Low

38


Costa Rica


Low

39


China


Low

40


Brazil


Low

41


Ukraine


Low

42


Chile


Low

43


Mexico


Low

44


Morocco


Low

45


Peru


Low

46


United Arab Emirates


Low

47


Ecuador


Low

48


Pakistan


Low

49


Colombia


Very Low

50


Panama


Very Low

51


Turkey


Very Low

52


Tunisia


Very Low

53


Guatemala


Very Low

54


Kazakhstan


Very Low

55


Egypt


Very Low

56


Thailand


Very Low

57


Azerbaijan


Very Low

58


Sri Lanka


Very Low

59


Qatar


Very Low

60


Venezuela


Very Low

61


Iran


Very Low

62


Jordan


Very Low

63


El Salvador


Very Low

64


Oman


Very Low

65


Kuwait


Very Low

66


Mongolia


Very Low

67


Algeria


Very Low

68


Saudi Arabia


Very Low

69


Cambodia


Very Low

70


Laos


Very Low

71


Libya


Very Low

72


Iraq


Very Low

 

SOURCE EF Education First

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