Taiwan's English proficiency ranking drops to 48th in world

Taiwan's ranking in English proficiency index drops for fourth year in a row to 48th in world

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Map of Asia region. (Screenshot from EF report)

Map of Asia region. (Screenshot from EF report)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's English proficiency remains rated at "low" and its ranking in English First's (EF's) global English Proficiency Index (EPI) for 2018 has dropped for the fourth year in a row to 48th in the world.

According to the report, Taiwan has a "low proficiency" at 51.88 points out of 100, a .16 point drop from its 52.04 score last year, while its ranking dropped eight notches from 40th to 48th. Though Taiwan finished 48th out of 88 countries surveyed this year, it did manage to move up a spot in Asia from 11th out of 21 Asian countries in last year's report to 10th this year.

The top spot in Asia was taken by Singapore (68.63), followed by the Philippines (61.84), Malaysia (59.32), India (57.13), and Hong Kong (56.38), all five of which were once ruled as colonies of English-speaking countries. Ahead of Taiwan in 9th place was China, while Taiwan topped Japan, which was ranked 11th this year. 

The non-English-speaking country with the highest EPI in the report was Sweden (70.72), followed by the Netherlands (70.31), Singapore (68.63), Norway (68.38), and Denmark (67.34), rounding out the top five.

This year's rankings were based upon test data from 1.3 million non-native English speakers in 88 countries and regions completing three versions of the EF Standard English Test in 2017.

The report rated the EPI in northern Taiwan as "moderate," while western Taiwan is rated as "low."


Screenshot of English level in various cities and regions of Taiwan based on English proficiency. 

The latest EPI rankings for Taiwan are a sobering sign that the nation has a long way to go to achieve the National Development Council's goal of making Taiwan a bilingual country by 2030.  It also looks like Premier William Lai (賴清德) has his work cut out for him in attempting to make English an official second language next year.