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Malaysia at least Boleh a bit…Malaysians command most proficient English in Asia

I am not sure why Koreans can be in the number two position because hardly I found a Korean on the street who speak “understandable” English. But that was many years ago.

With the declining trend continues in Malaysia, East Asians will easily overtake Malaysia in English proficiency skill.

Malaysia No.1 in English in Asia

Malaysia boleh! Although there’s much (deserved) grumbling about our national English standards, it happens that we’re actually in the first spot for English proficiency in the Asia region for countries where English is not the mother tongue.

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 the 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.

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