• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Germany slips out of global top ten in English
A Bavarian child practices English sentences at school. File photo: DPA

Germany slips out of global top ten in English

Tom Barfield · 3 Nov 2015, 13:14

Published: 03 Nov 2015 13:14 GMT+01:00

Along with Austria and Switzerland, Germany had done a good job of improving English teaching in recent years, the study from language training company Education First (EF) found.

"I don't think it's a bad sign that we've dropped out of the top ten," EF country manager for Germany Niklas Kukat told The Local.

"We have improved our score compared with last year, but other countries managed to slip in front of us."

Nevertheless, Kukat thought that Germany should be aiming as high as the top five worldwide to boost the value that English adds to the country's reputation and economy.

But a drop in the number of German school pupils and students going to English-speaking countries on exchanges in recent years threatened to undermine language skills, he said.

Good English, strong economy

"The correlation between income and English knowledge is there. For the German economy, as an exporting nation, it's very important that we have a high level so that we can work with partners and companies in other nations," Kukat said.

For the first time the study has revealed the connection between countries' English levels and their achievements in innovation, by looking at metrics such as technology exports and spending on research and development.

"Countries with higher English proficiency have more researchers and technicians per capita," said the report.

"The ability to learn from the research of others, participate in international conferences, publish in leading journals, and collaborate with multinational research teams is dependent upon excellent English," it concluded.

The report also found that correlations between countries' English ability and Gross National Income per capita, quality of life and internet connectivity remained strong and stable.

Slow improvement

The good news was that EF was seeing demand for their English classes increase day-by-day and year-by-year, as well as noticing improvement in the public education sector, Kukat said.

"The English skills of recent graduates in Austria, Germany and Switzerland indicate that English instruction in these countries has recently become more effective," EF authors wrote in the study, adding that "strength in the youngest adults is a positive indicator for the future."

Germany boosted its standing further above the European average, with an increase on EF's English Proficiency Index (EPI) of 0.94 points to 61.83 (European average: 55.65).

Among EU neighbours, it was far outshone by Scandinavia, with Sweden leaping into first place and pushing Denmark back down to third.

Austria took 10th place and Switzerland trailed behind in 19th.

But France was not even in the top half of the 70 countries tested worldwide, coming in at just 37th place.

Story continues below…

Inside Germany, Hamburgers were the best English-speakers, with the northern port city achieving a near-Scandinavian score of 66.34.

Image: English First

Closely following were Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, while Berlin wasn't much better than the national average at 62.88.

Meanwhile, German women's English was slightly better than men's, with an average score of 62.20 compared with 61.57 – repeating a pattern seen across Europe and the world.

SEE ALSO: Seven ways Germans get English totally wrong

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Barfield (tom.barfield@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Germany-denying beauty king fights cops with guns, teeth
Left: Adrian Ursache in his glam days as the 1998 Mr. Germany. Right: Police trying to evict him from his own 'country'. Photos: DPA.

Former Mr. Germany winner and founder of a group that denies the existence of Germany refused to be evicted, provoking a shootout - and bite-out - with police.

Politicians renew call to bring Snowden to Germany
Photo: GUARDIAN / GLENN GREENWALD / LAURA POITRAS.

Green and Die Linke (Left Party) politicians are asking that NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden be allowed into Germany for an ongoing investigation.

Merkel urged to address Turkmenistan rights record
Angela Merkel with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Photo: DPA

Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring up major rights violations, including a "policy of disappearances", when Germany hosts the president of Turkmenistan next week.

Epic father-daughter comedy picked for Oscars success
A scene from film Toni Erdmann. Photo: DPA

German Films has chosen Toni Erdmann, a beefy comedy about a father's struggle to save his daughter from her isolating career, as its 2017 Oscars choice.

Germany mulls pullout from Turkish airbase: report
A German Tornado jet at the Incirlik base in Turkey. Photo: Bundeswehr/DPA.

Germany's military is preparing to pull out from a Turkish airbase as a row between the two NATO partners escalates, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,546
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd