The Philippines is Among the Top Asian Countries for English Language Proficiency

For decades, the Philippines has been known as a country that not only excels in, but also cultivates and has mastered the English language. Various disciplines and industries in the country have generously profited jobs catering to national and international businesses that largely depend on communications, whether in oral or written form.


We Speak English

In an English proficiency test conducted by TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) in 2010, the Philippines scored 88 and ranked 35th out of 163 countries worldwide. Among Asian countries that were included in the list, only Singapore (ranked 3rd with a score of 98) and India (ranked 19th with a score of 92) ranked higher than the Philippines. Taiwan (score of 76), Thailand (score of 75), and Vietnam (score of 73) settled in the middle rankings, while other Asian countries fell on the lower half of the list, with South Korea and North Korea ranking 80th and 96th respectively. China ranked at the 105th place with a score of 77, while Japan is at the 135th spot with a score of 70.


The scores were based on four test categories: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The Philippines’ scores were 21, 22, 23, and 22, respectively, showing only a slight difference among the four. It also reflects that the Philippines’ aptitude in speaking the English language is the best in Asia after Singapore (score of 24), along with India and Pakistan.


English Language Immersed in Filipino Way of Life


The Filipinos’ exposure and mastery of the English language can be attributed to several factors. Being a U.S. colony for five decades (1898-1946), it was not only Commonwealth that was established (which bring forth vital government institutions that are still in place today), but also the English language.


Filipinos learn English in school as not just an ordinary requisite subject, but with a curriculum that is highly applicable to the Filipinos’ daily lives. Most of the private schools in the Philippines offer Language and Reading subjects, speech classes, English aptitude exams, oratorical exams, and essay-writing activities. Not to mention, regular film-showing activities that exposed us not just to the proper use of the language, but also to slang, and the way native speakers speak it. And beyond the classroom, Filipinos are constantly exposed and are able to experience using the language firsthand, in real, actual situations. A Huffington Post writer noted, upon her visit to the Philippines, that “exposure provides reinforcement, something Asian students rarely get outside the classroom.”


Aside from offering cheaper options compared to British, American, or Australian schools and universities, the Philippines offer a highly competitive option for foreign students to learn English. Another enticing factor that draws non-English speaking students to this country is that Filipinos speak with a clear American accent, which is also in part, strategically indistinguishable for the BPO call centers that cater to the U.S. market. Students who wish to study English exhaustively will learn it from teachers who speak the language similar to how the native speakers do.


Business English in the Philippines and Metro Manila


GlobalEnglish Corporation released a study that correlates a country’s business English capability to its economic growth and business success. In another test, the Business English Index (BEI), which is the only index that measures English proficiency in the work area, the Philippines scored 7.11, which falls under high proficiency and “indicates an ability to take an active role in business discussions and perform relatively complex tasks.” It was the only country in the intermediate level, joined by Norway (6.54), Estonia (6.45), Serbia (6.38), and Slovenia (6.19) in the top five.


Metro Manila is a central business district in the country, where you will find many international corporations and BPO offices catering to international clients, among other large institutions. More than anywhere else, this part of the Philippines has a high concentration of people using the English language in their daily lives, especially at work.


English Language and Creative Outsourcing


Here at MicroCreatives, we also take pride in our team who excels in the English language. Most of our clients come from English speaking countries and we take advantage of our proficiency to communicate clearly and to meet, even exceed, expectations. Our designers, developers, animators, and copywriters make sure that not only the copy or text is correct and relevant, but we also make sure that the whole look and feel of the projects we deliver are applicable to the culture, while also meeting all the requirements.


English in the Philippines is not treated as merely a second language, but an official one. With more than 170 indigenous languages spoken in this country, it might be considered a feat to master one that does not even originate in this side of the world, but rather, on the opposite side. But it is not entirely surprising, with the way English has been taught, exposed, and reinforced to Filipinos.