Czech Republic among the worst in the EU in English

Global survey of over two million adults reveals global trends in English proficiency

EF Education First today published the 2021 edition of its EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), analyzing data from two million non-native English speakers in 112 countries and regions.

As global English levels improve, Scandinavia no longer dominates the top positions in this world ranking.

Adults from the Netherlands were ranked among the best non-native English speakers with a score of 663, followed by those from Austria (641), Denmark (636) and Singapore (635). Yemen had the lowest score, with just 360 points.

The Czech Republic ranked fifth in Europe. Only France, Italy and Spain have lower English levels than the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic fell from 19th to 27th place, which is the biggest drop recorded in Europe this year.

The EF EPI is based on the test results of the EF Standard English Test (EF SET), used worldwide by thousands of schools, businesses and governments for large-scale testing as well as millions of individual candidates.

The main conclusions of the EF EPI 2021 include:

  • Europe English proficiency is still strong and growing, largely due to improved skills among the elderly.
  • central and East Asia are on the rise while South Asia and the ASEAN countries have more contrasting trajectories.
  • Latin America the upward trend continues with improvements in three quarters of the countries studied.
  • North Africa continues to improve and a clearer picture of the rest of the continent is emerging as more countries are added to the index.
  • Adults over 30 improved the most since last year, and those over 40 made it to the moderate skill band for the first time. These trends highlight the ability of adults to acquire language skills throughout their careers.
  • On average, most industries do not have sufficient command of English to function optimally (moderate or higher proficiency). The education, government and health sectors remain at the bottom of the industry rankings.
  • Men’s English proficiency surpassed that of women for the first time, thanks to an increase in men’s proficiency levels.


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