Czech Republic Ranks 23rd in Europe for English Language Proficiency

The research conducted by English First aims to compile the world’s largest ranking of countries and regions based on English proficiency. Photo credit: Freepik

Brno, 17 Aug (BD) – The English Proficiency Index (EPI), conducted by the international education organisation English First, aims to rank countries and regions around the world by English proficiency, based on the largest sample size of test results in the world.

The Netherlands ranks first among non-English speaking countries in the world for English proficiency, followed by Austria and Denmark. The Czech Republic ranks 27th in the world out of 112 countries included, and is rated as a ‘high proficiency’ country, achieving a score of 563 out of a maximum of 663. In the global standings, the country deteriorated from the previous year, dropping from 19th to 27th place, the biggest drop of any European country.

The EF EPI divides the countries and territories surveyed into five proficiency bands: Very high, High, Moderate, Low, and Very Low. The bands facilitate the identification of countries and regions with similar proficiency levels and the comparison between and within regions.

At the European level, the Czech Republic ranks 23rd of 35 selected countries, 100 points behind the first-placed Netherlands and 112 points ahead of the last-placed Azerbaijan. Compared to last year’s data, the country’s English language score has deteriorated by 17 percentage points.

Ranking of Countries and Regions

Source: EF EPI Score

Among Czechs who do not speak any foreign language, most are over 50 years old and have at most obtained a secondary education without a high school leaving certificate. About 45% of the population can communicate at some level of English: 14% at a basic level, 10% at a sufficient level, 15% at an intermediate level, and 7% very advanced, according to data from the Czech Statistical Office.

Furthermore, the personnel agency Grafton Recruitment conducted a study which found that English is required for 4 out of 10 job offers, and overall is five times more in demand than all other foreign languages combined. In 2021, 55 % of job offers mentioned the condition of knowledge of a foreign language.

Another statistic about the Czech Republic that needs attention is the gender gap. Last year, men’s knowledge of English in Europe exceeded that of women for the first time by a very small margin. This year, the gap has doubled. Men in Albania, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Spain significantly outperformed women on average.

Gender Gap

Source: EF EPI Score

The overall results of the research showed that city residents know English better than the surrounding regions and capital cities outperform the country as a whole. This is most likely due to economic factors; more employment and better salaries attract ambitious individuals from the countryside who find themselves in a more international environment, more frequently exposed to English. To close this gap, countries should ensure that the quality of English teaching in rural versus urban schools is equal.

The research also reports an increasingly strong relationship between a society’s connection to the world, its level of equality and freedom, and its level of English proficiency. The easiest relationship to explain is that between a country’s level of outward focus and its English, which is often the language needed to communicate abroad. Places that engage a lot with the world (economically, scientifically, diplomatically, etc.) need English, so it becomes a priority. Through their engagement with the world, adults have greater exposure to English, which means an increase in skills.

English proficiency is high and rising sharply compared to 10 years ago in Europe and remains higher than in any other non-English speaking region.

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