Czech Republic Witnesses Decline in English Proficiency, Ranks 26th Globally in EF Education First’s Annual Index

In a notable shift, the Czech Republic has experienced a drop in its global English proficiency rankings, sliding to the 26th position out of 113 countries in EF Education First’s annual English Proficiency Index (EF EPI). This marks a decline from the 23rd spot recorded in 2022. Despite this setback, the Czech Republic still maintains its classification among countries with ‘very high’ proficiency in the English language. However, it lags behind all its neighboring countries, with Austria securing the 3rd position, Germany at 10th, Poland at 13th, and Slovakia at 18th. Within the European context, the Czech Republic ranks 21st, with the Netherlands retaining the top position as in the previous year.

Sabina Wyrob, representing the Czech office of EF Education First, highlighted that Czech children undergo fewer private language lessons compared to their counterparts in other European nations. The shift to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic further impacted English language skills, as Czech children had limited active usage and communication in English. Efforts to recover missed learning opportunities are underway in schools, but progress remains slow.

School closures during the pandemic, a crucial protective measure, contributed to the challenges faced by Czech students in maintaining and enhancing their English proficiency. Wyrob pointed out a contrasting scenario in Slovakia, where despite the pandemic, the country improved its position in the rankings. English skills in Slovakia were historically lagging behind the Czech Republic until 2020.

The assessment involved 2,400 individuals in the Czech Republic, revealing regional variations in English proficiency. South Moravia emerged as the top region, surpassing Prague and Moravia-Silesia. At the city level, Brno outperformed Prague in English proficiency.

Notably, English skills exhibited a generational pattern, with the 20s and 30s age groups displaying the strongest proficiency. However, a concerning trend emerged among individuals aged 18-20, indicating a deterioration in English skills both in the Czech Republic and globally, attributed to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Efforts to reverse this trend and enhance language education are crucial for the country’s competitiveness on the global stage.

Article by Prague Forum

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