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.
"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