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2020 English Proficiency Index: Philippines out of world's Top 20 but is No.2 in Asia
Students in uniform answer their learning modules during an online class under DepEd's blended learning system this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman

2020 English Proficiency Index: Philippines out of world's Top 20 but is No.2 in Asia

(Philstar.com) - November 19, 2020 - 1:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino people's English competency in 2020 placed seven spots lower on a global proficiency index compared to last year.

International company Education First ranked the Philippines 27th in its 2020 English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), with the country garnering a score of 562 out of 700. For comparison, the highest ranking country, the Netherlands, garnered a score of 652.

The country's English competency in Asia is ranked second only to Singapore which garnered a score of 611 and is ranked 10th on the index overall.

From 2016 to 2018, the Philippines managed to remain in the top 15 of the index, placing 13th, 15th, and 14th, respectively although the number of countries in the index varied. It included 88 countries in 2018 and 72 in 2016. 

In 2019, when the index grew to include a total 100 countries, the Philippines fell six spots compared to the year previous, but managed to remain in the Top 20.

Philippines maintains 'high' proficiency

The country's "Proficiency Band," which is based on score rather than rank, has consistently remained at "high" from 2016 to 2020. The proficiency bands range from very low proficiency to very high.

According to Education First, those with a high proficiency band can accomplish the following tasks:

  • Make a presentation at work
  • Understand TV shows
  • Read a newspaper

Education First said it came up with the index by administering its English Standard Test to over 2.2 million individuals across 100 countries and regions, 54% of whom were female and 46% of whom were male. The median age of test takers, the company said, was 26 years old and 94% of them are below the age of 60.

Key findings

The following is a summary of the 2020 EPI's key findings:

  • English proficiency is improving
  • English and innnovation go hand in hand
  • Countries with high English proficiency are fairer and more open
  • Technology spreads English
  • Adults in their late twenties speak the best English
  • Managers speak the most English
  • Non-English speakers cluster in specific job functions
  • The gender gap is narrow
  • European English skills are polarized
  • Asia spans the spectrum of proficiency
  • Latin America's proficiency is turning around
  • Africa's English competency skews high and low
  • The Middle East's English proficiency is improving

The EF Standard English Test can be taken here: www.efset.org

— Bella Perez-Rubio

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