Scandinavians are no longer the best students when it comes to their English skills. The Dutch and Austrians are the most proficient in the language of Shakespeare, according to an analysis by international language training and educational travel organization EF.
The French often get a bad reputation when it comes to their command of the English language. However, an EF report, which studied the level of two million people in 112 countries and regions, showed that in Europe, the Spanish (33rd) and Italians (35th) are less proficient. However, looking at the level by city, Paris brings up the French score. The French capital is 24th, while France is 31st in the EF ranking.
In this latest ranking the Dutch take first place for best English level, while Austrians take second place, ahead of the Danes and Singapore. Germans come in 11th, with a poorer command of the language than the Belgians (6th), the Portuguese (7th) and Croatians (10th). However, overall Europeans have improved their English, as the average level has increased by six points per year since 2011.
On a global scale, English is hardly practiced in Iran (58th). A destination that comes in last in the ranking indicating the regions where the English language isn't very commonly spoken. In fact, the Middle East is the area where it is most complicated to have a fluent conversation in English. "Although there has been a small amount of progress in the past decade, adults under 25 have not improved at all, which is worrisome given the region's youthful population. In addition, women's English proficiency is not keeping pace with men's. The workplace is key in building adult English proficiency both through direct training and through exposure. When women are left out of the workforce, their skills do not develop," EF explains in its report.
Finally, the steady progress of North African countries should be noted. For the first time, the educational company has drawn up a panorama of English-language proficiency on the African continent. And the new feature indicates that English skills are on the rise in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt.