When it comes to English, Danes are second to one

English-proficiency enables economic and personal advancement, and Danes are only edged out by neighbouring Sweden

November 6th, 2012 8:46 am| by admin

In the last two decades, English has emerged as the common language of an increasingly globalised world, and a study conducted by the international education company Education First (EF) ranked Denmark second only to Sweden in English-language proficiency.

The Swedish-based company published their second English Proficiency Index (EPI) in October, a compilation of data from 1.7 million adults across 54 countries in Europe, Asia, Central and South America.

Sweden and Denmark claimed the two top spots, with the Netherlands, Finland and Norway as the only other countries said to have “very high proficiency” in English.

Proficiency in English is imperative for personal and national success in today’s interconnected world, the study claimed, as the language provides a gateway to international opportunity and personal betterment.

EF found English-proficiency to be positively correlated with the World Bank and the Ineternational Finance Corporation’s 'ease of doing business' score, adding that attracting investment from the UK and the US can hinge on a populace’s ability to speak English.

Anna Leclercq Vrang, a consultant with business advocacy group Dansk Industri, agreed that English proficiency is an important aspect of maintaining international business.

“A large number of companies need candidates who can use English as a working language,” she said.

Vrang added that, while most of these companies are able to fill positions with Danes proficient in English, more can be done to improve Danes’ employment at companies with English as their principal language.

“Children start learning English in the third grade. We’d like to see that start earlier, like in the first grade,” she said. She also advocated for more language assessment in higher education.

“It’s possible now for students to do a number of master's programmes in English without actually being assessed on their language skills. These candidates should be assessed on their English-language skills as well,” she said.

Denmark’s second-place ranking was an improvement from the first EPI released in 2009, in which the country ranked third.

Methodology notes:

  • Study respondents took a series of three online English-language tests, each of which included grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening sections.
  • Tests were taken between 2009-2011. Only countries with a minimum of 400 test-takers were included in the final results.
  • Test-takers were all self-selecting, i.e. took the test by free will, and therefore results cannot be guaranteed to be representative of a population. Additionally, those without internet access were automatically precluded from participation.
  • To create a country’s EPI score, participants’ scores across the three separate tests were normalised, evenly weighted, and then averaged.
The numbers are down, but the refugees keep on coming (photo: Mstyslav Chernov)
140,000 refugees made their way to Europe in November
Some 140,000 refugees and migrants came to Europe in November via the Medit...
It's a big plane (photo: Julian Herzog)
World’s largest passenger plane lands at Copenhagen Airport
An Airbus 380 operated by Emirates Airlines landed at Copenhagen Airport to...
A fight between students at a Jutland school has parents concerned (photo: Feans)
Mass brawl at Jutland school last week
A fight last Thursday at Ravnshøj School near Frederikshavn in northern Ju...
There will be gifts for the kids, delicious food and Christmas trees with ornaments at the asylum centres (photo: iStock)
Danish asylum centres to celebrate Christmas with refugees
Asylum centres in southern Jutland are going to host Christmas parties fo...
There are fewer fallen trees in the Danish forests after Gorm's raging compared to other storms (photo: Miika Silfverberg)
Danish forests withstood another strong storm
Danish forests have been better at withstanding strong wind storms of late...
A brazen early morning robbery on Funen (photo: You Tube)
Thieves use front-end loader to ram bank on Funen
A group of thieves used a tractor with a large clam shell shovel as a batte...