Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - South Korea ranked third out of Asian nations according to an English Proficiency Index announced on March 30 by Education First, a global education center. Go here for full rankings.
Korea, with an overall ranking of 13th, overtook Japan (at 14th) and Taiwan at (25th).
From 2007 to 2009, Education First conducted online English tests on 2.3 million working adults all from over the world. English proficiency was tested in four categories - grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening.
Among Asian countries, Korea's 54.19 points followed only Malaysia (9th) with 55.54 points and Hong Kong (12th) with 54.44 points. Koreans' English proficiency can be considered relatively high considering that Korea's official language is not English. Malaysia and Hong Kong, however, use English as one of their official languages.
The overall English proficiency of an average Korean adult also rated above average." South Korea placed among the top tier nations by ranking 13 out of 44 non-native countries.
English education is important in Korea, Education First says, citing Korea's efforts to promote early English education in public schools and the emphasis on English education in private education.
In Asia's case, the gap between nations in English proficiency was largely affected by the level of political stability and economic power of the country as well as the educational zeal of the people. Overall English ability was highest in Northern European countries such as Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark, with Sweden and Finland following closely behind.
In places where the public education system is relatively weak, the English proficiency of the people also rated poorly. Argentina, ranking 16th in total, scored highest among Central and South American nations with 53.49 points.