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English is important not only for professional development and the opportunity to get a ticket to a better, global future. English is also of great local importance as its level tells us about economic competition and future prospects.
The EF Education First 10th English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) surveyed 2.2 million adults and compiled a nation ranking in terms of English language level.
Here are the main results of the report:
- English language level is increasing. Worldwide, the weighted average is stable, but 26 countries have seen significant progress, while only 7 have seen a significant decline.
- The level in European countries has increased, with France consistently rising for the third year in a row, Spain and Italy remain at the bottom of the list once again.
- The level in Asia has dropped somewhat and there is still a good level difference between countries. While China is rising, nearly half of Asian countries have fallen this year.
- Levels in Latin America are rising, 12 out of 19 countries have raised levels, partially due to significant investment in teacher training.
- Levels in Africa rose in a few countries but fell in others. The gap in English proficiency between countries remains large.
- Levels in the Middle East have risen thanks to government action, but proficiency in English is still the lowest compared to other regions.
The results also showed correlations between the level of English proficiency and higher income, mobility and innovation, the level of public discussion and even the rule of law.
At the individual level, the results are as follows:
- Young adults aged 26-30 show the highest level of English proficiency, with the age group 21-25 coming second. Both age groups show an increasing need to know English in a wide range of situations for young people, from educational needs to the job market, English is important in many areas of young people’s activity.
- Men are catching up with women considering the level of English proficiency, they significantly improved their last year’s result and outperformed women in Europe and Latin America.
- Managers of companies show a higher level of English proficiency than junior and senior employees (and therefore older ones), which shows the need to look at the level of English for people holding various functions in a highly competitive global market.
Although EF EPI’s results do not show the full picture, one thing can be said for sure: a high level of English affects the quality of life, communication and health wherever you are.
Published results also emphasize the importance of the language skills of individual entities, companies and societies related to each other in the face of accelerating technological changes.