Italians speak better English than the French

Italians are getting better at speaking English, even pipping the French with their language skills, according to a study ranking English proficiency in 63 countries.

Italians speak better English than the French
Italians are getting better at speaking English. English photo: Shutterstock

Italian women also speak better English than Italian men, according to the study by EF Education First, a unit of the global group, Education First.

Italy came 27th, with a proficiency score of 52.80, in the ranking of 63 countries.

“Italian adults speak English moderately well, and their proficiency levels have improved in the past seven years,” the report said.

Still, Italians lag behind their European counterparts – but are better than the French – at English.

Italy came 20th out of the 24 countries in the European ranking,  one place ahead of France.

Though “the average Italian does not have a command for English sufficient for the workplace”, there is some cause for optimism, the report added.

“English proficiency among Italian adults under 35 is higher than that of their older counterparts. This finding indicates that the education system has been more successful in teaching English than it was previously.”

Those living in central and northern Italy spoke the best English, with Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Lazio, Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, and Tuscany being the top five regions.

The Danes are the best in the world at speaking English, scoring 69.30 points, followed by the Dutch and the Swedes.

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‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

Ranked: Italy’s best universities and how they compare worldwide

“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

READ ALSO: Eight things you should know if you’re planning to study in Italy

Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.