Switzerland has slipped to 25th place in an international comparison of English language proficiency, down seven places from 2020.
The Alpine country has dropped out of the top 20 for the first time in a ranking of more than 100 countries released on Tuesday by the private education and language training company EF. But it still scores a “good” mark.
Switzerland has been overtaken by countries such as Kenya, Bulgaria, Greece, Estonia and Slovakia, says EF Education First, according to which the best in the field are the Dutch, Austrians and Danes.
The survey takes into account countries where English is not the official language. Since the first edition of the survey eight years ago, Switzerland has always maintained a good level, reaching a high of 11th position in 2011 and never – until this year – falling below 19th position.
The German-speaking part of Switzerland fares considerably better than Italian-speaking Ticino and French-speaking cantons. Domestically, the top six places are occupied exclusively by German-speaking cantons. Ticino is ranked seventh, while Vaud is the top French-speaking canton and shares ninth place with canton Basel-Landschaft. In terms of individual cities, Zurich, Winterthur and Basel come out on top.
Questioned on the reasons for Swiss slippage, EF told news agency Keystone-ATS that knowledge of English in Europe has increased significantly since 2011 and many countries have been able to improve faster than Switzerland. It said the Covid-19 pandemic may also have played a role, although “a direct influence on the results is difficult to determine”.
EF, which was founded in 1965 in the Swedish university town of Lund but has its headquarters in Lucerne, Switzerland, bases its conclusions on a free standardised English test that can be completed on its website.
Source: Swiss Info