By Priti Prajna Sahoo, Zurich/Mumbai: Adults in India have moderate proficiency in English Skills while India is placed globally at 22nd place among 72 non-native English speaking countries. 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 on 15 November 2016 by Zurich-based EF Education First.
In Asia, India stood at fourth place with a score of 57.30 and beats the average score of Asia. The average score of countries in Asia is 55.94. China is globally placed at 39th position and 12th among countries in Asia. India’s neighbours such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan are placed at low to very low proficiency band with a score of 46.58 and 48.78, respectively. 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.
“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.”
Women have stronger English language skills than men in almost all countries and age groups. Women in India beat men in English Proficiency as per the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). Male in Indian score 56.87 in English Skills while women in India score 58.51. In Asia, men score 52.94 as women achieve a score of 54.61 in Asia. Also, women adults at global levels outpace male counterparts in English Proficiency as women score 53.97 compared to the score of 52.38 for men.
Laos, Libya, and Iraq occupy the bottom of the rankings. 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.
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.
EF Education First 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. This is the Sixth Edition of EF English Proficiency Index.