hile China has invested tremendous resources over the last few decades into English learning, its population remains only “moderately proficient” in the language.
In the EF 2019 English Proficiency Index put out by Swedish training company EF Education First, China ranks 40th out of 100 different countries and territories, placing in between Chile and Uruguay.
That’s actually a marked improvement over last year when China ranked 47th on the list with a rating of “low proficiency.” Here’s this year’s top 10:
- South Africa
For the sixth consecutive year, Shanghai residents received the highest scores out of China on the index, which is based on the results of the EF Standard English Test, performing even better than their compatriots in Hong Kong.
It’s possible though that these results still manage to overstate Chinese people’s English proficiency. China’s system of English learning has been continually criticized for focusing too much on vocabulary and memorization, at the expense of actually speaking the language.
Previously, it’s been estimated that only 1 percent of China’s population (10 million people) speak English conversationally. A percentage that would rank near the bottom worldwide.