Mexicans’ proficiency in the English language is so low that it ranks near the bottom of a list of 100 countries, a factor that is holding up economic development, says a language training company.
Education First, a Switzerland-based firm with programs worldwide, ranked Mexico in 82nd place, which is second-to-last in English proficiency among 19 Latin American countries, beating only Ecuador.
It’s a problematic situation that is affecting Mexico’s economic success and putting the brakes on its growth in a range of areas, including economic and technological development, Tannia Domenzain of Education First told the newspaper El Financiero.
A nation’s overall English proficiency is an important X factor in its overall development, she said.
“There’s a correlation between the level of English in a country with other factors of development and competitiveness, like innovation, adoption of technology and connectivity. Limited language abilities amplify people’s inequality and lack of social mobility,” she said.
The company says it sees a clear correlation between a country’s gross national income (GNI) and its language proficiency rating. For example, Mexico’s GNI for 2019, according to the World Bank, was US $9,430 per capita, whereas the Netherlands, which ranked No. 1 on Education First’s list, had a GNI of US $53,200.
Mexico ranks high in unequal distribution of wealth as well, doing slightly worse than Haiti and better than only a few Latin American countries such as Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela and a few African nations.
Of further concern, Domenzain said, is that Mexico’s ranking fell significantly from its previous ranking of 67, dropping to the “low” category to “very low.” As well, her company has noticed a “disinterest in English” in Mexico’s education policies in recent years.
Comprehensive language preparation in a nation’s schools is crucial to its success in English-dominated fields like biosciences and information technology, Domenzain said.
“And 70% of internet content is in English.”
Source: El Financiero (sp)