Latin America has very low levels of English

Latin America is the region with the lowest levels of English .

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Latin America is the region with the lowest levels of English. / Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | Moises Campos

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Leer en español: Latinoamérica con niveles de inglés muy bajos

The English Proficiency Index, EPI for its acronym in English (English Proficiency Index), carried out in 44 countries of the world, showed that Latin America is the region where there are the lowest levels of English , despite the efforts that some countries are doing to improve these results.

Levels of English in Latin America

The low levels of English in the region are due to the low quality of language teaching programs in public education and the difficulties in accessing alternative training, due to the limited supply of language teaching institutions or the high costs that these studies may represent in some countries, judging by the results of the EF English Proficiency Index.

The report reflects that many countries have already initiated reforms to improve language teaching, as is the case in Costa Rica, where the language is taught in all secondary schools and in most primary schools, in addition to having qualified English teachers with the highest command of English in the region. Uruguay has also made improvements in language teaching, teaching the language in all urban public schools in person or online. However, the EPI shows that countries such as Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador have a very low level of English proficiency.

Other factors that affect the low level of English

The teaching of English is compulsory in almost every country in the region, but access remains highly uneven, which influences the region's low levels of English , according to the EPI report. In Mexico, less than 10% of schools teach the language. Language teaching also varies between urban and rural areas and between public and private schools. Most of the English proficient in the region have invested in English courses. Adults over 40 years of age present a better command of English , especially in qualified professions, due to work demands or having made a private investment in learning the language.

Also read: Classes on television, an option for Latin America in quarantine

Recommendations to the countries of the region

The EPI report offers some recommendations to the countries, aimed at improving the knowledge of English in the region:

  • Establish the teaching of the English language in all stages of the educational process, from the early years to the end of secondary studies.

  • Teachers must have degrees and accreditations in the language, with solid knowledge in teaching the language.

  • Use international apprenticeship programs and not local programs.

  • Create scholarships or incentives for language learning in adulthood.

  • Establish English as a requirement to access public office.

The low levels of English in the region are an opportunity for private teachers and for the creation of language teaching academies. Institutions or private teachers can be an incentive for students to seek to improve their own level.


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