Whoops, Malaysians' Proficiency In English Standards Saw A Drop, But It’s Okay

whoops, malaysians proficiency in english standards saw a drop, but it’s okayPhoto: British Council Malaysia

The annual English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) 2019 has just been released, ranking countries and regions based on the EF Standard English Test scores of over 2.3 million people across 100 countries and regions.

While Malaysia is comfortably ranked as top 3 in Asia for its English standards, we did however slide from the 22nd to the 26th spot overall.

whoops, malaysians proficiency in english standards saw a drop, but it’s okayPhoto: English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) 2019

Despite that, The National Union of Teaching Services (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan Huat Hock said Malaysia’s result was still impressive.

He told Astro Awani that "First we do not know how the instruments are used, we only know what they are looking for but how they manage and measure, we have no check and balance.”

“Secondly, like Singapore, English is the official language compared to our country, where English is the second language. Hence, in terms of measurements, we can see there is a lack of reliability and validity in the comparison done by the study," he said

In the interview, he added while some of the industries in the country had shown good English proficiency including in the service industry, more attention should be given to strengthening English language proficiency in higher learning institutions.

"So, it is a very important and clear message to the people of this country that if we want to be an international player, we have no choice but to master English formally," he reiterates.

The EF EPI Index placed the Netherlands in first place, followed by Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway and Denmark for having very high proficiency in the English language.

Amongst countries that do not practice English as their native language, Europeans had the highest English standard, while those in the Middle East had the lowest.

The Index reports that over half of Asian countries saw a drop in English proficiency this year while English standards in the region remained the same, despite further investments in private and public English education.

whoops, malaysians proficiency in english standards saw a drop, but it’s okayPhoto: English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) 2019

This year, Sri Lanka saw the largest drop in English standards while Singapore defended its title as top in Asia for English standards, followed by the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India.

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya