Shanghai leads nation in English proficiency: report

Yang Meiping
China was 40th out of 100 countries and regions in terms of English skills, according to data from EF Education First. Shanghai was the country's leader for a sixth straight year.
Yang Meiping

Shanghai ranked first in China for the sixth consecutive year in the English proficiency report produced by Swedish training company EF Education First.

The EF 2019 English Proficiency Index is the ninth report of its kind and its conclusions were made based on results of the EF Standard English Test taken by 2.3 million non-native English speakers in 2018. The test is a 50-minute online adaptive test of reading and listening skills aligned with the Common European Framework of Reference; it is free to all Internet users. The number of participants worldwide was up 77 percent from the previous year. Their median age was 23, and 59 percent were women.

Shanghai participants averaged 56.64 out of 100 points on the test, followed by Beijing, Hong Kong and Tianjin. The Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, with 46.38 points, was at the bottom of the ranking of Chinese regions.

Nationwide, Chinese test-takers scored 53.44 points on average, a 1.5-point improvement from the previous edition and putting China in 40th place among 100 tested countries and regions.

The Netherlands replaced Sweden on top of the ranking with 70.27 points. Sweden (68.74), Norway (67.93) and Denmark (67.87) took the following places. The country with the lowest score was Libya at 40.87.

The report explained that Chinese people’s English proficiency has been improving as they are reaching out to the rest of the world, with Shanghai a pioneer in its opening-up efforts. The city’s active role in international cooperation and exchange, including events like the China International Import Expo and its attempts to become a global center for finance, trade, shipping and innovation has also pushed its citizens to improve their English skills, said the report.

Improved English abilities have also been helping more Chinese people see the rest of the world, it added.

According to statistics from China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, about 150 million Chinese citizens traveled overseas in 2018, up 14.7 percent from the previous year, topping all other countries in the world.

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