The world’s largest ranking of countries and regions by English skills
The EF English Proficiency Index (EPI) has recently been released, analyzing national-level English language skills. Latin America has made further gains, while several key ELT markets have seen only small improvements. However, there is cause for concern as the average proficiency of younger speakers has decreased. The 2022 EPI is based on the results of 2.1 million EF SET English tests taken in 2021 and is the 12th edition of the analysis conducted by EF – Education First, a global education company.
The Netherlands maintained its top position in the EF EPI with a score of 661 out of a maximum possible score of 800, followed by Singapore at 642, which has steadily climbed up the rankings and took second place for the first time. The top five were rounded out by Austria (628), Norway (627), and Denmark (625).
Except for the Netherlands and South Africa, countries within Europe make up the ‘Very High Proficiency’ category. Europe remains the most proficient region, increasing its average score to 558 in the 2022 EPI, while Asia saw a slight decline to 500. Latin America (495) had the largest year-on-year increase and overtook Africa (490) to become the third-highest ranked region, while the Middle East scored 445, which is the same as the previous year.
Brief overview of the report and some statistics:
- The report ranks 111 countries and regions by their English skills based on test data from more than 2.1 million test takers in 202112.
- The report shows that English proficiency levels vary widely across regions, countries, genders, age groups, education levels and sectors12.
- The report also explores how English proficiency is linked to economic competitiveness, social development, innovation and quality of life12.
For CIS countries:
- The highest-ranked country is Lithuania (#19), followed by Estonia (#20) and Latvia (#21)3.
- The lowest-ranked country is Turkmenistan (#109), followed by Uzbekistan (#108) and Tajikistan (#107)3.
- The average score for CIS countries is 489 (moderate proficiency)3.
- The country with most progress is Armenia (+7), followed by Georgia (+6) and Azerbaijan (+5)1.
- The report suggests that these countries have benefited from increased regional cooperation, economic integration, tourism development and cultural exchange1.
- The report also notes that these countries still face challenges such as political instability, social inequality, low investment in education and limited exposure to English1.
For LATAM countries:
- The highest-ranked country is Argentina (#26), followed by Costa Rica (#27) and Cuba (#30)1.
- The lowest-ranked country is Haiti (#111), followed by Mexico (#110) and Ecuador (#109)1.
- The average score for LATAM countries is 462 (low proficiency)1.
- The country with most progress is Cuba (+19), followed by Paraguay (+17) and Bolivia (+16)2.
- The report attributes this improvement to several factors, such as increased access to online learning, greater motivation to learn English due to economic challenges, more exposure to English media and culture, and more government support for English education2.
- The report also notes that these countries still face significant challenges in achieving high proficiency levels, such as low internet penetration, unequal access to quality education, lack of qualified teachers, and limited opportunities for practice2.
- The highest-ranked country is South Africa (#12), followed by Kenya (#23) and Nigeria (#28)4.
- The lowest-ranked country is Democratic Republic of Congo (#111), followed by Libya (#110) and Rwanda (#109)4.
- The average score for Africa is 443 (very low proficiency).
- The country with most progress is Kenya (+8), followed by Nigeria (+7) and Ethiopia (+6)3.
- The report suggests that these countries have benefited from improved access to education, especially for women and girls, increased use of technology and digital platforms, more involvement in regional and global trade and development initiatives3.
- The report also notes that these countries still face challenges such as poverty, conflict, corruption, health issues and environmental degradation.
- According to the EF EPI 2022 report1, only one country moved from moderate to high proficiency level since 2020: Kenya1. Kenya is also the second highest ranked country in Africa after South Africa1.
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