Swiss ranked 14th for English skills

Materials used in a primary school English class in Suhr, Switzerland Keystone

The Dutch are the best non-native English speakers, according to a survey by EF Education First. The Swiss climbed up the annual ranking to 14th place.

This content was published on November 15, 2016 - 19:32 and agencies, and agencies

Adults in the Netherlands are the best non-native English speakers in the world, followed by those in Denmark and Sweden, according to the EF English Proficiency IndexExternal link, published on Tuesday. Laos, Libya, and Iraq occupy the bottom of the rankings.

Singapore was the only non-European country in the top ten.

Switzerland was ranked 14th out of 72 countries, behind Malaysia (12th) and the Philippines (13th), but ahead of Portugal. It remains behind German-speaking neighbours Austria (8th) and Germany (9th), but well ahead of Italy (28th) and France (29th).

German-speaking regions in Switzerland were generally better ranked than French- or Italian-speaking regions. The Zurich region came out with the best non-native English speakers, followed by north-western Switzerland, eastern Switzerland and central Switzerland.

The city of Zurich was ranked ahead of Winterthur, Geneva, Bern and Lausanne.

The Middle East and North Africa continue to occupy the lowest ranks. Latin America was the only region that experienced a decline in English proficiency in the past year, the survey said.

Women have stronger English skills than men in almost all countries and age groups, it found.

The 6th EF English Proficiency Index is a global ranking based on a survey of 950,000 adults in 72 countries. The index draws its conclusions from data collected via English tests available for free over the internet.

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