Czech Republic Ranked 17th in Europe For English Proficiency
As English is becoming accepted as a “lingua franca” all over the world, governments are paying more attention to the English level of their citizens. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Brno, Nov 15 (BD) – The 2018 English First English Proficiency Index (EF EPI 2018), produced by global language training company Education First, compares the level of English proficiency among adults in 88 countries. Countries are classified between “very high proficiency”, “high proficiency”, “moderate proficiency”, “low proficiency”, and “very low proficiency”. This year’s index, the eighth edition, is based on test data collected from more than 1,300,000 people around the world who took the EF Standard English Test in 2017.
The latest version of the annual index ranks Sweden as the world’s top non-native English speaking country, with a score of 70.72 points and the highest number of proficient English speakers; the Netherlands ranks second, with Singapore third.
Worldwide, the Czech Republic ranks 20th between Portugal (19th) and Hungary (21st), with a score of 59.99 and a classification of “high proficiency” in 2018. In 2013 and 2014, the country was classified as “moderate”, but from 2015 onwards the country’s ranking has been “high”. The Czech Republic’s historic sister state Slovakia is ranked 24th of 88 countries in 2018.
The two countries with the lowest English proficiency in 2018 are Iraq (#87) and Libya (#88).
Europe, for the purposes of this index, is a broad geographical region of 32 countries that also includes non-EU states such as Albania, Turkey, and Georgia.
Of the 27 countries in the 2018 index with high or very high English proficiency, 22 are in Europe. Education First explains Europe’s excellence in English by its politics and culture of multiculturalism and openness “forged in two World Wars”, and the success of the Erasmus student exchange program which sees “over 700,000 European students and teachers studying abroad each year.”
The current situation in Central Europe is described positively. According to Education First, Central Europe is becoming “an increasingly attractive business hub”, in part due to high levels of English proficiency (“English is facilitating global investment in these countries and improving the business environment.”) and relatively low costs, together with rising Purchasing Power Parity and low unemployment in the region. The Czech Republic is ranked 17th out of 32 European countries included in the index.
“Europe saw few dramatic score changes this year, but the majority of countries in the region improved, with the Czech Republic improving most,” Education First reports. Both Italy and France have seen English proficiency among adults rise since last year, but not enough to move from their position at the bottom of the regional rankings. Italy ranks #34 and France #35, with “moderate” scores of 55.77 and 55.49 points respectively.
Education First explains the situation in the two major economies: “In Italy, a 2018 court decision forbid universities from offering degree programs entirely in English, citing the need to preserve the Italian language.” In France, Education First sees an opportunity for positive change: “France, under the leadership of its young, English-speaking president, is discussing reforms of its continuing education funding scheme, and apprenticeship programs.”
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