Asia Improves Its English Proficiency

EducationFirst (EF) is a major leader of international education and has been teaching and educating people around the world for over 50 years. It also conducts research over education and publish its very much expected English Proficiency Index, which evaluates the level of English education around the world.

According to EF, English is widely accepted as the primary international language, and it is increasingly defined as a basic skill required of every student in every education system. Few countries continue to debate whether or not English should be taught. Instead, discussions of English instruction in public schools focus on which dialect of English is taught, how it is assessed, and how much English education is necessary. Increasingly, countries view English as a catalyst for development rather than a threat to national culture.

The 2015 English Proficiency Index has just been released and it bears some good news for Asia. Since 2007, EF sees Asia’s adult English proficiency improving more than any other region in the world. Asian countries are continuously investing in English training as a tool for accelerating globalization.

Asia has however wide-ranging levels of proficiency, with a 20-point difference between Singapore and Cambodia. While Singapore has an index reaching almost 62 over 100, Cambodia index is only slightly over 39. Worrying is the constant worsening of Thailand position, down to an index of only 45.13 over 100. Thailand’s rank stands only at 62 over a total of 70 countries. Just seven ranks over Cambodia. While Indonesia and Malaysia do not see any improvement in their ranking from one year to another, Vietnam has seen the most progress within a year, ranking now 29 over 70, a result even better than Japan or Hong Kong…

EF recommends to further improve the way English is teached today. In its survey, the group sees the most essential shift needed is towards communicative teaching practices. In far too many countries, both rich and poor, English is still taught with little regard to its practical use. Until all English teachers are teaching English as a tool for communication, countries and individuals will not enjoy the full benefit of a global language.