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Switzerland falls in global English skills ranking

Switzerland remains in the group of countries with “high” English language skills, but EF observed a small decline across all Swiss language regions. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The Swiss have slipped slightly - down to 19th place - in an annual ranking of English-language skills. The Dutch once again came first in the survey by EF Education First. 

This content was published on November 5, 2019 - 15:02
Keystone-SDA/sb

For the first time since the survey was published, the English-language proficiency of the Swiss fell compared to the previous year (-1.54 points, down from 15th place in 2018), said EF, a private education and language training company. External link

Nordic countries again dominated in the English language ranking: the Netherlands came top, followed by Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan and Libya occupied the bottom of the ranking.

Switzerland remains in the group of countries with “high” English language skills, but EF observed a small decline across all Swiss language regions (German-, French-, Italian- and Romansh-speaking). International cities like Geneva and Zurich were no exceptions. Lausanne was the only place showing progress. 

“The Swiss education system is progressive when it comes to the teaching of English, but there is still not a very strong practical emphasis,” said EF Switzerland Director Christopher Hein.

“Efforts must be made to ensure the gap between Switzerland and the top countries doesn’t widen.”

The EF English Proficiency Index is a global ranking based on a survey of 2.3 million adults in 100 countries. The index draws its conclusions from data collected via online EF English reading and listening tests.

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