France’s English skills rated poor

Country ranks only above Turkey in Europe and just below China in the world for its level of English proficiency

12 November 2013

FRANCE has been ranked lower than China for its level of English proficiency, by an international study.

The annual English Proficiency Study by the education group English First, ranked the country in 35th place in the world for its skills in the language.

The ranking makes France almost the worst country in Europe for learning English. Only Turkey comes lower, in 41st place.

France has been ranked as ‘low proficiency’, the second lowest bracket for countries. It lags just behind China which is 34th.

“France’s English proficiency skills are declining,” said the report, which singled out France as the only European nation where this was notably taking place. (Norway’s skills have also dropped, but its high position means the effect is negligible.)

“It appears that the declining level of English ability in adults is led by young people, who are leaving school with weaker English than ever before,” said the report.

The study used test data from the 750,000 adults who took its English tests in 2012 to create the global country rankings.

“These French teenagers, as they graduate and enter the workforce, do so with slightly poorer English skills than prior French graduates, and markedly poorer skills than most other Europeans,” concludes the report.

The list, which ranks the English skills of countries where it is not the native language, was dominated by European nations.

Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands took first, second and third places respectively.

Malaysia was the highest-ranked non-European nation in 11th place, just ahead of its neighbor, Singapore, in 12th.

Photo:© AMATHIEU -

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