English is one of the four languages of Singapore, so we’d never give it a second thought when it comes to the fact that we’re good at it. And since those overseas love to give us titles, from the world’s fastest walkers to having the best roads globally, and the world’s best city for 2024, and more…it comes as no surprise we have now been crowned as the second best non-native English speaking country in the world.
Best in English
According to the English Proficiency Index 2023 by Education First (EP), Singapore ranks #2 on a list of 113 countries globally but ranks #1 in Asia out of 23 countries for English proficiency. In fact, it’s the largest English proficiency study worldwide comparing the country’s residents English skills.
The Netherlands took first place for the fifth year in a row. While Singapore maintains a strong second place position, followed by Austria ranked at third, Denmark securing the fourth spot, and Norway scoring fifth place.
For 2023, 2.1 million people took the test, which also compared towns and cities in countries as part of the study to differentiate the level of English in neighbourhoods. The overall score was calculated through online tests and EF’s English language courses. Meanwhile, the median age of partakers was 25 with 41% female and 59% male.
The countries in the ”Very High Proficiency” category exhibit people who are able to read advanced English texts without problem, negotiate contracts in native English, and use appropriate English in social settings.
Here are the top 12 countries who rank ‘Very High’ on global non-native English proficiency list:
1. Netherlands (EPI score 647)
2. Singapore (631)
3. Austria (616)
4. Denmark (615)
5. Norway (614)
6. Sweden (609)
7. Belgium (608)
8. Portugal (607)
9. South Africa (605)
10. Germany (604)
11. Croatia (603)
12. Greece (602)
Particularly, Singaporeans between 18 and +41 years old have an average score above 600pt. While those between 21 and 25 boast the best score of 649pt. Alarmingly, young people from 18 and 20 have the lowest score among age groups with 620pt for 2023 – which shows a decline since 2022.
On the other hand, Yemen, Tajikistan, and Democratic Republic of Congo ranked 111 to 113 on the list making them the least proficient when it comes to English. According to the study, these people can only understand the basics and give simple introductions. Learn more about Singapore as a top non-native English speaking country globally for 2023.