In the globalized and interconnected world we live in today, where opinions and ideas can be shared with a diverse audience with the click of a button, it’s no secret that solid English language skills are necessary to keep up in the fast-paced 21st century.
EF Education First published the results of its 2015 English Proficiency Index (EPI) last week and the report shows that English proficiency is a strong indicator of a country’s economic strength and the quality of life of its citizens.
The EF EPI is the world’s largest ranking of countries by English skills and this year’s report ranks 70 countries and territories based on the results of 910,000 adult English language learners who took EF’s tests in 2014.
Why is identifying English language learning trends so important? Because over time we get a clear picture of where our future is headed, and this EPI ultimately serves as a guide, showing us that English skills must be honed for countries and individuals all around the world to prosper and contribute to business, education and problem solving on a global scale.
“The EF EPI shows the power of big data to inform education policy, investment decisions, and classroom practices,” said Minh Tran, EF’s Director of Research.
Despite the shift in rankings from year to year, the index still shows strong correlations between countries’ English ability and income, Internet connectivity, quality of life and scientific research.
According to insights on the EPI website: “The interaction between English proficiency and Gross National Income per capita seems to be a virtuous cycle – improving English skills drives up salaries, which in turn encourages governments and individuals to invest more in English training. In many countries, higher English proficiency corresponds to fewer young people who are unemployed or not in training.”
While the results indicate that countries no longer question whether English should be taught but rather how it can be used and how it can impact growth and development, the international language still has potential. The report’s summary suggests that as we move forward, English instructors must teach their students the practical use of the language and how exactly it can be used as a tool for communication.
How did your home country rank?
Rankings and a complete analysis can be found here.