Argentina has the best level of English in Latin America, followed by Chile, which is positioned at a medium level, and Peru at a low level, while Mexico and Colombia are at the bottom. This was made known by the learning platform Políglota, on the occasion of World English Language Day, which is celebrated this April 23, and whose objective is to recognize the cultural and historical richness of the official languages of the UN.
"The importance of speaking English today has become an imperative need that goes beyond believing that speaking it will improve a job situation," the company said in a statement. For the platform, which began as a startup and gradually became a teaching platform, English language learning has become an important strategic issue throughout the Americas.
They point out that given Mexico's proximity to the United States of America, speaking perfect English is no longer a luxury but a skill of prime necessity, given that it is the language of business and globalization. However, they assure that the reality in the country is different since the command of English in Mexico is very low:
"In Mexico, the teaching of the language is achieved through paid education, to which only a very small percentage has access and it becomes a privilege." According to the Chilean firm, until a few years ago, English was considered an optional subject in the public education system in Mexico, so it was not considered mandatory in the elementary level curriculum.
The level of comprehension
According to the EF English Proficiency Index for Schools (EF EPI-s), which analyzes the development of English language skills in secondary and high school students, comprehension levels can be measured according to these parameters.
Very high (reading more complex texts, negotiating with a native speaker); High (understanding series and movies, making work presentations); Medium (understanding the lyrics of a song, writing work emails on topics that he/she masters); Low (participating in simple conversations, making oneself understood in an English-speaking city) and Very low (can introduce him/herself and give basic directions).
Who's who in the region
According to the English Proficiency Index for selected Latin American countries, published by business platform Statista, Argentina scored 566 out of a maximum of 800 points, the highest score among all Latin American countries included in the survey.
The Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, also received the highest English proficiency score among all the Latin American cities analyzed. Mexico and Ecuador received the lowest scores in the region, with at least 40 points below the regional average.
According to the EF English Proficiency Index, in 2015, Uruguay implemented an ambitious plan to raise English proficiency, invested in technology to enable remote English teaching in schools that do not have qualified English teachers on site.
In Costa Rica, English proficiency has improved for two consecutive years, by being included as a compulsory subject for decades, and by investing in teacher training and recruitment.
And Bolivia, although one of the poorest countries in Latin America, has halved its extreme poverty rate in the last decade and improved access to schools in rural areas. Its literacy rates have increased, and data show that English proficiency is improving, up 2.77 points since 2020.