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Macau’s English level lower than mainland China

Education First (EF) Hong Kong and Macau General Manager Jenny Chiu Chin Yu said on Thursday that according to the organisation’s annual global study this year, there has been a “slight” increase in the average score of Macau’s sample.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

Education First (EF) Hong Kong and Macau General Manager Jenny Chiu Chin Yu said on Thursday that according to the organisation’s annual global study this year, there has been a “slight” increase in the average score of Macau’s sample.

However, Macau’s ranking has fallen as other countries or regions have improved their scores even further.

Meanwhile, this year mainland China’s ranking surpassed Macau’s for the first time.

Chiu made the remarks at a press conference about the findings of this year’s EF English Proficiency Index (EPI) at the private company’s local centre.

The EF English Proficiency Index is a ranking of countries and regions of adults’ English level. It tests adults’ reading and listening skills in an online test. The proficiency score is categorised into five groups: “very high”, “high”, “moderate”, “low” and “very low”.

This year data was collected from over one million people in 80 countries.

According to the Macau Post Daily, Chiu said that Macau’s score rose slightly from 51.36 last year to 51.87 this year while its world ranking fell from 37 to 42, adding that that Macau’s increased score was very small compared to other rising countries. She noted that the city’s score was categorised as the “low” proficiency level.

According to the report, Singapore was the best performing Asian country, ranking fifth in the world with its “very high” proficiency level. Malaysia and the Philippines stood at 13 and 15 respectively, both being “high”, while Hong Kong and South Korea ranked at 29 and 30 respectively, both with a “moderate” score. Mainland China (ranking 36), Japan (37), Indonesia (39) and Taiwan (40) all scored “low”, the same as Macau.

Explaining the sizeable variance between Asian countries or regions, Chiu said that “Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea all performed well in the Programme for International Student Assessment (also known as the PISA test).”

However, Singapore was the only Asian country or region among the top 10 EPI countries, according to Chiu. “This might be due to the fact that English education in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea focused on grammatical rules, rather than real life communication,” Chiu said.

The top 10 performing countries in the EPI report were the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg, South Africa, Germany and Austria.

The Netherlands scored the highest, at 71.45. Laos scored the lowest, at 37.56. A total of 80 countries and regions took part in the latest EPI study. The global average score was 53.18.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

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