Philippines Kicked Out of Top 20 English Proficient Countries

Down seven spots from 2019.
IMAGE Unsplash

The Philippines is known worldwide for its bilingual population, many of whom are proficient in English. It’s the reason why the BPO industry gained a foothold in this country and why expats and tourists enjoy our corner of the world.

Unfortunately, the Philippines has been kicked out of the top 20 countries that rank the highest in the 2020 English Proficiency Index (EPI). From 20th place in 2019, the Philippines is now at 27th place in 2020, down seven spots from last year, scoring 562 out of 700 on the index.

Photo by EPI.

Despite this, the Philippines is still considered the second highest scoring country in English proficiency from Asia, after Singapore which comes in first in Asia and 10th in the world. Malaysia, South Korea, and Hong Kong followed the Philippines.

Since 2016, the Philippines has ranked well on the index, placing 13th place in 2016, 15th place in 2017, and 14th place in 2018. Relative to the rest of the world, the Philippines is still a leading English proficient population, particularly for emerging markets.


The Netherlands topped the list with a score of 652 over 700. Northern European countries ranked after the Netherlands, namely Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. All of these countries were categorized in the “very high proficiency” group, while the Philippines belongs to the lower end of the “high proficiency” group.

According to the index by Education First, being in the “high proficiency” group indicates that you can make a presentation at work, understand TV shows, and read a newspaper.

Photo by EPI.

The index tested around 2.2 million individuals around the world to gauge trends in the use of English. According to the results, the index has found that English proficiency is improving around the world, and this can be attributed to the spread of technology. Innovation and technology continue to be interconnected with the use of English.

The survey also found that the gender gap between English speakers is narrowing, leveling the playing field so to speak, and adults in their late 20s speak the best English. Individuals in management positions were also found to speak the most English in businesses.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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