The latest EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) ranking shows that Malaysia’s average adult English proficiency remains in the High Proficiency band. - NSTP/Ghazali Kori.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia dropped to 22nd place from 13th last year in English proficiency ranking for non-native English speakers, according to a survey by the EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI).

The latest EF EPI survey also ranked two other Asian countries higher than Malaysia.

Singapore moved to third place from fifth last year, making it the first Asian nation to enter the top three slots. The Philippines took the 14th spot this year from 15th last year.

The 2018 report however states that Malaysia’s average adult English proficiency remains in the High Proficiency band, as it has for all the past editions of the EF EPI.

Sample tasks where an individual could accomplish a high proficiency band are making presentations at work, understanding television shows and reading newspapers.

This year, Sweden took the top spot overall, resulting in last year’s top-scorer, the Netherlands, dropping to second place.

Europe remains the global leader in English proficiency as eight of the top 10 spots in the ranking are held by European countries.

One of the key findings according to the survey is that English proficiency has not improved in Asia despite high levels of investment in the language.

New correlations indicate that societies with higher English proficiency are more egalitarian. Women also continue to outpace men in English skills worldwide, and this gender gap has been widening since 2016.

The EF EPI is an international proficiency benchmark for non-native English speakers gauged through online test scores from 1.3 million test takers in 2017.