EF Education First Japan Ltd on Wednesday announced that Japan ranked 26th of 60 countries in the third EF Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index (EPI).
Japan’s EPI score in the survey was 53.21, down 0.96 points from the first edition, which used test data from 2007-2009. Among Asian countries, Malaysia and Singapore scored highest, coming 11th and 12th respectively, with Hong Kong 22nd, South Korea 24th and China 34th.
The EPI found that in the past six years, Japanese adults have not improved their English. If anything, their skills have declined slightly. During the same period, other Asian countries, most notably Indonesia and Vietnam, have made enormous progress. Despite being a far wealthier and more developed country, Japan is struggling to teach its students English for use in a competitive global economy.
EF Education First Japan President Junnosuke Nakamura said, “In Japan’s increasingly globalized environment, many people are now diligently studying English. There is greater focus on English in elementary and junior high schools, and companies are increasingly adopting English as their official language. However, in the Japanese education system, most English classes are delivered in Japanese as lectures, with little emphasis on developing actual communication skills. The resulting inability of many people to express themselves in English and actually communicate remains a serious issue. With English today being the international language, talented speakers will surely find themselves increasingly in demand. We will also see greater motivation to learn English as a result of Tokyo’s successful Olympic bid.”
Further details of the EPI findings are to be discussed at an EF event in Tokyo this evening, where over 190 people from Japan’s English-language education industry will gather to debate the future of English education in Japan and the implications for industry and the economy.
The third EPI was based on a unique set of data gathered from 750,000 adults in 60 countries over a period of six years, from 2007 to 2012.© Japan Today