Norwegians losing top spot in English: report

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected] • 8 Nov, 2013 Updated Fri 8 Nov 2013 08:06 CEST
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Norwegians risk losing their place at the top of the class when it comes to speaking English, with a new study reporting a decline in proficiency rivalled in Europe only by France.

Norwegians, who ranked as the world's best English speakers in the first English Proficiency Index from Education First (EF) in 2011, have since slipped behind the Swedes, and now have The Netherlands and Estonia hot on their heels. 
The country's people have shed 2.49 points since the first study in 2011, a drop rivalled in Europe only by France, who lost 2.63 points. 
"We can see that Norway is steadily going down in the index," Lena Sjøttem, the head of EF in Norway told The Local. "This will help wake people up." 
The good news is that Norwegians are still the second best speakers of English as a second language. And country has recovered somewhat from last year's survey, which showed it falling to fifth place.
But with The Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark, Austria and Finland only fractions of a percentage point behind it, it may only be a matter of time before it falls again. 
The language test quizzed 750,000 people from 60 countries around the world, and the Nordic nations scored prominently, with Norway followed by the Netherlands, Estonia, Denmark, Austria and Finland.
Sjøttem said Sweden's government and schools did more to promote English learning than Norwegian authorities.
"We see that the focus on English language has declined in Norway. We tend to believe in Norway that we are good at English, because our spoken English is quite good, but out written English is a problem in many cases." 
She pointed out that the Swedish government offers scholarships and loans for students going abroad and learning languages, while Norway's government does not.  



Richard Orange 2013/11/08 08:06

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