the world's understanding of english appears to be getting better. the private education company ef recently released a report called english proficiency index. the report ranks english language proficiency in 63 countries into five categories or classes. they are: "very high proficiency, high, moderate, low and very low."
minh tran is ef's director of research and academic partnerships.
"at the global level, we are seeing a consistent improvement year after year. i think that many countries that are looking outward, that are looking to internationalize their economies are seeing the importance of english."
the english proficiency index says denmark is the top country for english as a foreign language. poland and austria have joined denmark and other northern european countries with the "very high proficiency" ranking.
malaysia and singapore have the best ranking in asia with "high proficiency" in english. joining them is argentina, the only latin american country to rank as "high proficiency." english levels in the rest of latin america remain low.
south korea, japan, taiwan, and hong kong have invested a lot of time and money in english education. but these countries have not improved since the last study came out in 2007.
minh tran has this to say: "i think they are not improving because they have not made any significant reform to the way they teach english. in korea, japan, taiwan, hong kong. they still rely quite heavily on rote memory. and there's a strong focus on grammar and vocabulary acquisition, but not so much on the actual communicative skills."