In Asia, English proficiency is much lower than in North America.
In Hong Kong, just 24% of the population speak English well or very well. In Japan, just 8% of the population speak English well or very well.
But even in some of the largest English-speaking countries in Asia, such as India and Pakistan, proficiency is much lower than in North America.
As a result, many Asian countries are attempting to increase their citizens’ English proficiency. They do this through:
Language training for people who want to work in an international environment
Language training for people who want to study abroad (especially in the U.S.)
Development of ESL classes and programs that will prepare children for later study abroad or professional life in an international environment.
And this isn’t just true for Asian countries. A similar trend is happening throughout Latin America and parts of Europe as well. As more jobs require higher levels of English proficiency, governments are making it a priority to improve their citizens’ ability to communicate in English.
The impact of English proficiency on Asian countries’ GDPs
As you can see, English proficiency varies widely across Asia. And in some countries, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, high English proficiency has helped to drive their GDPs.
So let’s take a look at how much higher GDP per capita is in these two countries than the rest of Asia. In other words, how much more productive are they? And what role does English proficiency play in this productivity?
GDP per capita in Singapore is $56,500 (U.S.). This is 4 times higher than the average for all Asian countries ($13,000). And it’s almost twice as high as the next highest country (Australia at $35,000).
The city-state of Singapore also has the highest literacy rate in Asia (99%). So it’s no surprise that its citizens are extremely proficient in English.
What role does this high level of English proficiency play in Singapore’s success? The answer is a lot!
First of all, Singapore is a global financial center. Many international companies and financial institutions have their regional headquarters there.
In addition to providing jobs for local residents, these companies also provide jobs for English-speaking expats. So the high level of English proficiency in Singapore is an important factor in attracting these companies and the jobs they provide.
In addition, Singapore has many educational institutions that provide high-quality English language training. This attracts international students from all over Asia and the world. These students spend money on tuition, room and board, entertainment, etc. while they’re studying there.
In conclusion, high English proficiency is a big factor in Singapore’s success. It helps the country attract international companies and their employees. And it attracts international students, who spend money while they’re studying there. As a result, English proficiency has a significant impact on Singapore’s GDP per capita.