The Jakarta Post
General proficiency in the English language in Indonesia has improved, driven by the rising number of fresh graduates and young employees, according to the 2014 Education First (EF) English Proficiency Index.
EF Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher McCormick explained that Indonesia had shown one of the most consistent performances in English proficiency rankings year-on-year, ranking 28th of 63 countries tested for the 2014 index. The index placed Indonesia in the third rank for countries, with a 'Moderate Proficiency' category.
McCormick said Indonesia's performance trend had outstripped the regional average and grown by 7.96 percent in the last seven years.
'By age worldwide, 35-year-old people tend to be the most proficient in English. In Indonesia, it seems that people aged [around] 25 years old fare better. This could be the impact of new job demands, or work opportunities,' McCormick explained at a discussion event in Jakarta on Thursday.
Indonesia's score on the worldwide ranking was 52.74, making it the third-highest performer in the Southeast Asian region below Malaysia and Singapore. In terms of proficiency, Indonesia scored higher than Thailand and Vietnam, and also placed one position above France.
Despite Indonesia's performance, McCormick noted that most people with good English proficiency originated from large cities, with Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta scoring the highest proficiency rates in the index, showing an uneven proficiency distribution.
Commenting on the index's top performers, comprising Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, McCormick said that the excellent performances of those countries showed that they tended to have a clear vision and an efficient resource and skill distribution, such as highlighting the importance of building the capacity of teachers.
Meanwhile, the Culture and Elementary and Secondary Education Ministry's head of language development and training, H Mahsun, commented that there needed to be a more sustainable way for Indonesian students to learn English at school so as to improve their global economic competitiveness and competency in the future.
'The importance of English is based on the need for science and technology skills that need to be translated into the Indonesian language through the education system. There should be a more sustainable method implemented in the school curriculum,' Mahsun said at the event. (ebf)
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