The Countries With The Best And Worst Level Of English In Latin America

Broadly speaking, the region has improved its level of English, but one of the countries with the lowest level left us with a surprise.

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LatinAmerican Post | July Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Los países con mejor y peor nivel de inglés en Latinoamérica

It is not a secret that, when speaking of languages, English is of great importance, since it is considered one of the most influential of the modern era and is the most used for international exchanges at a professional and personal level. In fact, according to Statista, it is the most spoken language in the world, it has a total of 1,452 million speakers, of which 379 million are native speakers, that is, more than 6% of the world's population are native speakers, and the number of total speakers is increasing.

English level in Latin America

The international language training company EF published the report "EF English Proficiency Index" in which it ranked the English proficiency of 111 countries around the world from a study of 2.1 million people with an age range of 25 years. The Netherlands, Singapore, and Austria took the top three places respectively and Europe was the region with the most countries in the top 10.

In the case of Latin America, Argentina was positioned as the country with the best level of English with a score of 562 out of 700. In the complete list, it was ranked 30th and is the only country in the region that entered the high-level classification. Costa Rica ranked second in Latin America and 37th on the list, entering the Medium level classification, and Cuba, third place in the region and 38th on the list.

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Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Honduras, Uruguay, El Salvador, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Guatemala were also in the Medium level classification. The Latin American countries that remained at the Low level were Nicaragua, Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador in that order.

In the last two positions in the region, and at the Very Low level, were Mexico and Haiti, which occupied positions 88 and 98 in the global report.

We can say that Latin America is at a medium level of the English language.

The cases of Argentina and Mexico

Taking into account the geographical distances of Argentina and Mexico from the United States, a country where English is spoken natively, it is striking that the first place is occupied by a country as far away as Argentina (bearing in mind that the aeronautical routes and trade crosses South and Central America) and that in the penultimate position is Mexico, which shares a border with the United States.

But why does this happen? Here it must be taken into account that the high level found in Argentina does not imply that the country has educational programs that focus on teaching the language in an arduous way, but on the contrary, Argentina is considered, along with Brazil, as the country with the worst public education policies in the region. This is a highly sectorized education, and it is the middle/high and upper classes that have the opportunities to acquire knowledge of foreign languages. Taking into account that the EF ranking focuses on adults, we cannot speak with certainty that Argentina has a high level of English teaching, since, on the contrary, there is little effort on the part of the State to increase the possibility that Argentines from all sectors have access to this apprenticeship.

Now, in the case of Mexico, although there is a geographical proximity to the United States that could be considered advantageous, it must be taken into account that international relations between these two countries do not have educational policies within the Aztec country and that even the United States It is reactive with Mexico and Central American countries, due to migration problems. In this sense, Mexico does not have the obligation to know English just because it is geographically close to the United States and, in turn, the United States is a country with a very low level of Spanish. Hence, a cultural exchange at the language level is practically impossible.

This, added to Mexico's poor educational policies, shows us that the very low level of the country in this ranking makes sense.