English in Panama

Panama Is Ranked Among The Countries With Lowest English Proficiency

Sunday, November 10 2013 @ 11:55 PM EST
Contributed by: Staff_Journalist
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Panama NewsHaving gringos for almost a century wasn’t helpful at all for Panama, at least not in terms of learning the language. This was proven in the latest report issued by Education First, world leader in international education, in which Panama was assessed as one of the five top countries with lowest English proficiency.
The third edition of the English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), the most complete world ranking on level of English skills, reveals that Panama occupies the number 56 between 60 countries.

In the analysis, countries like Guatemala and El Salvador are better positioned than Panama, occupying the 52nd and 53rd positions, respectively.

This study is based on the results of tests administered to 750 thousand adults from 60 countries in the year 2012.

This low level in English knowledge is still one of the greatest competitive weaknesses of Latin America, according to the investigation. It also says that Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile have improved, but still lack a large base of English speakers that is needed to have larger labor strength.

Some countries in the region, among these Mexico and Guatemala, have reduced their English knowledge level.

The vice minister of Education, Mirna de Crespo, reacted to this report by saying since 2006 they have increased from 3 to 5 hours the amount of class hours to study English throughout the three levels of education. They have also created projects such as the Training Teacher, in which the teachers are trained, and spelling contests are organized, among others.

Crespo said these results in Panama are due to a lack of English teachers in the country, because almost no one specializes in this area.

This low results match the capacity of the students for learning English, said Juan Planels, member of United for Education.

Planels considers they must emphasize more in preparing teachers in this language, which will bring a great benefit to the students. (Siglo)

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