Global survey of 750,000 adults across 63 countries and territories shows the state of worldwide English proficiency
LONDON, Nov. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Adults in Denmark are the best non-native English speakers in the world, followed by those in the Netherlands and Sweden, as shown in the fourth edition of the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) released today. North African and Middle Eastern adults find themselves towards the bottom of the ranking. Worldwide, most countries with strong English skills continue to improve, while countries with weaker English skills are often stagnating or declining.
The report also shows that English proficiency remains a key indicator of a nation's economic competitiveness, with strong correlations between English proficiency and income, quality of life, ease of doing business, and international trade. These correlations are remarkably stable over time.
"English is a powerful platform for professional, cultural, and economic exchange. The EF EPI has inspired conversations about the importance of language education around the world and continues to do so," said Dr. Christopher McCormick, EF Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Key findings of the EF EPI include:
- Nordic countries are still the most proficient in English.
- Women speak better English than men worldwide and in nearly every country surveyed.
- The top ten countries in English proficiency are all European. Europe's English proficiency remains far higher than that of other regions, and it continues to improve.
- Asian countries have a wide range of proficiency levels, from high to very low, with dramatic progress alongside persistent stagnation.
- Three Southeast Asian countries - Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam - have shown some of the fastest gains in English ability in the world. Indonesia has caught up with Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
- Almost all countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have low or very low English proficiency. Argentina, the Dominican Republic and the UAE stand out for their moderate English proficiency, far ahead of their regions.
The EF EPI Report for Companies (EF EPI-c) is also released today, providing a country ranking of workforce English proficiency as well as insights into how English skills have become a strategic requirement for businesses. This year's EF EPI-c Report shows that companies are struggling to keep pace with the growing importance of English.
EF is already collecting data for next year's report, which will use data from test takers of the new EF Standard English Test (EFSET), the world's first free standardized English test. The EFSET was launched in September of this year to serve the world's two billion English language learners, who often lack a free, high-quality self-assessment tool. The EFSET will also be useful to schools, companies, and governments, which to date have found large-scale testing prohibitively expensive.
Download the full EF EPI Report and view additional rankings, insights and graphs at: http://www.ef.com/epi/.
EF Education First (http://www.ef.com) is an international education company that focuses on language, academics, and cultural experience. Founded in 1965, EF's mission is "opening the world through education". With 500 schools and offices in over 50 countries, EF is the Official Language Training Supplier of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. The EF English Proficiency Index is published by EF Learning Labs, EF's innovation and research division.
SOURCE: EF Education First