Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has been rated most proficient nation in the use of English language among Asian countries where English is not the mother tongue. It stands ninth globally as per a proficiency index report published here.
In the Education First English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) 2011 report released on March 30, Malaysia overtook Hong Kong (at second place), South Korea (third place) and Japan (fourth place).
The report in the New Straits Times does not make any mention of India and other South Asian nations where the English language is used by millions in education, commerce and public discourse.
Malaysia is the only Asian country rated as "high proficiency" for the English proficiency level in the report. All the countries were rated at five different levels -- very high proficiency, high proficiency, moderate proficiency, low proficiency and very low proficiency.
Education First, a global education centre, conducted online English tests on 2.3 million working adults globally from year 2007 to 2009. English proficiency was tested in four categories -- grammar, vocabulary, reading and listening.
The EF EPI measures the average English proficiency of an entire country and compares English skill levels between countries.
It was the first index of its kind to give countries a standardised measure of English competency in adults, the newspaper said.
There is an ongoing debate in Malaysia whether Mathematics and Science should be taught in English or in the local Bahasa Malaysia.
The Chinese and Indians want this to continue in English.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said last Saturday that the government would study the possibility of using two mediums of instruction in the teaching of Science and Mathematics in schools.
Last July, the Cabinet decided the medium of instruction for Mathematics and Science would revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and mother-tongue languages in national-type schools from next year onwards.