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Date [ 2017-12-06, 05:03 ]

Malaysia has been ranked 13th in English language proficiency among non-native speakers in the world, according to the latest EF English Proficiency Index.

Malaysia is the second best in Asia, after Singapore which is ranked number five out of 80 countries. Malaysia is ranked under the ‘high’ category while Singapore is ranked under the ‘very high’ category.

Laos is ranked the 80th, with Iraq, Libya and Cambodia above it in that order. 

Malaysia had a score of 61.07 on the EF English Proficiency Index, while Singapore had 66.03.

The Philippines was at 60.59. India had a score of 56.12 and Hong Kong had 55.81. The average score is 53.2pc.

Asia ranks second in English proficiency in the world after Europe.

This is the 7th edition of the EF English Proficiency Index, the world's largest study that measures adult English proficiency among non-native speakers.

EF, or Education First, is a private education company. The ranking is based on results of a free online test, called the EF Standard English Test or EFSET. According to EF, more than one million people took the EFSET in 2016.

The Netherlands was at the top of EF's list, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Singapore.

This is the first time Singapore is in the top five, and according to Minh Tran, EF senior director of research, this is due to its improved education system. He said while all countries had some students who performed well, nearly all Singapore students performed at a very high level.

The EF report said the education systems in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea were often held up as models thanks to their stellar scores on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

“In these countries, high standards for every student are the norm, and there is a relatively small difference in performance between rich and poor students. Of these four countries, however, only Singapore teaches English to a high level.”

It said although countries with historical ties to English-speaking countries often displayed higher levels of English proficiency than their neighbours, this was not always the case.

Among the former British colonies in Asia, it noted, Singapore was the best, with Bangladesh and Pakistan in the low proficiency band and Hong Kong and India towards the middle.

China remained in the low proficiency band but, the EF report said, it was gradually adopting a more communicative approach to language instruction with adults investing more heavily in English training every year.■
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