English proficiency among Mexicans is generally “very low,” a new study has found.
Mexico is in 92nd place on Education First’s 2021 English Proficiency Index (EPI), which ranks citizens of 112 countries and regions for their English skills.
Mexico is one of 26 countries where English proficiency was found to be very low. Among the others are Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sudan, Haiti and Yemen, which ranked last.
Mexico’s ranking dropped 10 places compared to its position on the 2020 EPI, which included 100 countries and regions.
The rankings are based on the results of Education First English language tests taken by more than 2 million adults across the 112 territories.
Although it neighbors two countries where English is the dominant and/or official language – the United States and Belize –Mexico has the second lowest ranking in Latin America after Haiti.
The states where English proficiency is highest are Jalisco, Querétaro, Baja California Sur and Nuevo León. Residents of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, generally have a better knowledge of English than people who live in Mexico City, Education First found.
The Netherlands ranked first on the EPI followed by Austria, Denmark, Singapore, Norway, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Finland and Croatia. In 30th place, the highest ranking Latin American country is Argentina, where English proficiency is described as high.
Education First, an international company that specializes in language training, said in its EPI report that almost all countries in Latin America have improved their adult English proficiency over the past decade, but in Mexico it has consistently declined.
According to The World Factbook, a reference resource produced by the CIA, over 90% of Mexicans only speak Spanish competently.
A Mexico-based Education First marketing director told the news website Expansión that Mexican students need “true immersion” in English in order to improve their proficiency.
Students cannot become bilingual through dedicated English classes alone, said Tannia Domenzain, who advocated curriculum-wide learning in English.
She also said that participating in conversation clubs, reading in English, watching movies in English and studying can help people improve their English language skills.
With reports from Expansión