Malaysia and Singapore top English literacy in Asia

A report has identified Malaysia and Singapore as having the best English language skills in Asia.

The recent report by EF Education First found Malaysia scored an index of 58.99, beating Singapore marginally by an index of 0.07.

The countries secured the 11th and 12th positions respectively in the global rankings, and both nations were found to have "high proficiency" levels of English.

The report also highlighted Indonesia and Vietnam as countries which have shown a significant change in their English proficiency.

"China has also improved, although less dramatically. Japan and South Korea, despite enormous private investment, have declined slightly", the survey added.

Globally, Sweden topped the international rankings with an index of 68.69, followed by Norway (66.60), Netherlands (66.19), Estonia (65.55) and Denmark (65.15). On the other hand, the Middle East and North Africa were found to be the weakest regions in English.

The rankings were based on tests taken last year by 750,000 people aged 18 and over.

Commenting on the importance of the study to the corporate sector, the report said over the years, "economies are more globalised, work more delocalised, and information more decentralised".

"A shared language is a necessary tool when communication is no longer tied to geography. English is that tool, now more than ever," the report added.

5th November 2013