Despite some improvement in recent years, Ecuador ranks 90th among 112 countries surveyed in the 2021 EF EPI English Proficiency Index. Giorgio Iemmolo, EF Director of Academic Standards, said the poor showing is due in part to the addition of 12 more countries in the latest survey but says Ecuador continues to suffer from a poor system of language education.
“We rank countries in English because it has become the world’s preferred language for commerce, technology, the arts and for communication between people who speak different languages,” Iemmolo said. “In Latin America, English proficiency is especially important due to the region’s strong ties to the United States and Canada.”
Among Ecuadorian cities, Cuenca rated highest in English proficiency followed by Quito and Guayaquil. Manta, Latacunga and Riobamba ated lowest.
According to Estefanía Moreira, EF institutional relations director, Cuenca’s high ranking is the result of strong language programs at the Universities of Azuay and Cuenca, well as the presence of several private English-language training centers. “Among the Ecuador’s major cities, Cuenca has the highest level of connectivity with the United States in both the number of its resident who live or who have lived there and in the number of college students studying there,” she said.
She added that Cuenca’s large community of English-speaking foreign residents is another factor. “The municipality estimates there are 12,000 citizens from the U.S., Great Britain and Canada living in the in the city and many jobs require English skills.”