It is hardly secret that Korea spends a ton of money in English education. So is that money doing anything? According to the newest data, it seems to be working. The latest report by Education First, a Britain-based language education company, Korea is 13th in the world in terms of English proficiency among the countries that do not use English as the first language, and third in Asia following Malaysia and Hong Kong. Unsurprisingly, the top of the chart is dominated by European countries. Given that Korea has been in dire poverty until the 1980s and Korean language is really far apart from English compared to most European languages, this is a solid showing.
There are a few surprises in the list when it comes to Korea. Korea's English proficiency is only slightly behind Hong Kong, and significantly better than India -- two former British colonies. Korea's English proficiency is also better than Mexico, a country that is right next to as well as has significant economic ties with the U.S. Korea's English proficiency is also ahead of several wealthy European countries like France, Portugal, Italy and Spain. And considering Korea's English push went up into another gear at around late 1990s, the Korean would expect more improvement in the future.
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