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Learning English can increase the earning power of citizens in developing countries by 25%, according to a new study.
The research from the British Council (BC), the UK’s education and cultural relations organisation, also found that developing economies need access to English if they are to position themselves in the global economy.
The study was conducted in partnership with Euromonitor, a leading research organisation. The BC says that the study is the first statistical research into the benefits of English for developing countries.
The report, which was published last month, gathers data from five target countries: Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cameroon and Rwanda.
The data was gathered from existing research and through interviews with businesses and employers in each country.
While English skills levels vary among Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan, the researchers found a link between even a moderate competency and higher levels of investment from countries such as the US and UK. In the three countries, investment from English-speaking countries accounts for between 33% and 41% of total FDI.
"By contrast, largely French speaking Cameroon and Rwanda lose out, with only 2% and 1% of their total FDI coming from English-speaking countries," the report said.
Professor Chris Kennedy, director of the Centre for English Language Studies at the UK's Birmingham University, welcomed the report but said that it stopped short of offering insights into the effectiveness of government policies promoting English language learning, such as using English as the medium of instruction in schools, which is hotly debated.
Posted by Nick Tellwright
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