Nigeria has been rated 29th globally on the Education First’s 2018 English Proficiency Index [EF EPI], moving two steps upward from the 31st the country was ranked in 2017.
In Africa, Nigeria ranked second behind South Africa, which is ranked 6th globally, and leads fellow West African nation, Senegal, which is ranked 39th in the world.
The English Proficiency Index is an annual report by Education First based on surveys conducted on people from countries where English is not a native language with a view to providing an understanding of how and where English proficiency is developing around the world.
In order to put together the eighth edition of the index, Education First analyzed the results of 1.3 million people who took English tests in 2017.
The countries are ranked in five categories namely: Very High; High; Moderate; Low and Very Low.
With a ranking of 29th among 88 countries, Nigeria’s scores placed it in the moderate category with countries such as India, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, France, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Belarus, Senegal, Uruguay, Vietnam, Russia, Ukraine, Macau, and China.
Speaking of the growth of English Proficiency in Africa, Education First said,
“In West Africa, Nigeria and Senegal are trying to build adequate infrastructure and provide quality education for rapidly growing populations, and both countries have achieved moderate English proficiency among adults. In Nigeria, urban elites are usually native English speakers, but, outside of cities, English is spoken far less often, even though it is the country’s only official language. In Senegal, where French is the only official language, English is becoming important as well. In both countries, English clubs, conversation groups, and mobile learning platforms are increasingly popular. The approach to English in West Africa tends to be highly utilitarian, with practical communication as the core objective instead of mastery of technical grammar rules. That kind of pragmatic focus pays off.”
In the category of “very high,” Sweden ranked first for the fourth time in a row, followed by the Netherlands, Singapore, Norway and Denmark.
Overall, the study concluded that women speak English better than men in all indices and that societies that speak English are more open, less hierarchical and fairer to women.