KYIV
INTERNATIONAL
INSTITUTE of
SOCIOLOGY
sociological and
marketing
research
 
office@kiis.com.ua

ESC or click to close

Level of proficiency in English and other foreign languages in Ukraine: results of quantitative sociological research conducted in December 2022 - January 2023

The press release was prepared by Maksym Yashnyk, KIIS analyst

During December 2022 - January 2023, KIIS conducted an all-Ukrainian sociological research commissioned by the USAID project "Transformation of Communications", implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. The research was conducted at the request of the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine with funds generously provided by American taxpayers through the USAID Agency for International Development.

The purpose of the research was to assess the level of foreign language proficiency among the adult population of Ukraine (in particular, English, Polish, Turkish, Hungarian, Spanish, French, German), as well as to study the incentives and barriers to learning foreign languages.

The survey was conducted by the online interview method, in which 2,001 adult residents of Ukraine aged 18 and older participated. The research used a quota sample that represents the adult population of Ukraine living in government-controlled territories by basic demographic characteristics (gender, age, macroregion, and urban/rural type of settlement). Respondents were recruited on the basis of the InPoll online panel, which uses OSA software. Additional telephone recruitment was used to select underrepresented online groups (mainly older people and the rural population).

Under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and without taking into account the design effect and peculiarities of the applied research method) did not exceed 2.2%. At the same time, under conditions of war, additional systematic sample deviations may occur due to the consequences of Russian aggression, in particular, the forced displacement of millions of Ukrainian citizens, lack of reliable statistics, etc. However, the analysis shows that internally displaced persons continue to use mobile communications and the Internet, therefore the obtained results still retain high representativeness and allow a fairly reliable analysis of the social state and opinions of the population living in the controlled territory of Ukraine.

What is the assessment of the level of foreign language proficiency?

The majority of Ukrainians, namely 68%, have some knowledge of at least one foreign language, although this knowledge is often not deep: in particular, 51% of Ukrainians indicated that they have some knowledge of the English language, but a more detailed analysis shows that only 23% can read, write and communicate in this language at everyday and even professional levels. In general, almost a third of adult residents of Ukraine - 31.8% - do not speak foreign languages at any level. It should be noted that in this context the Russian language was not taken into account, only English, Polish, Turkish, Hungarian, Spanish, French and German languages.

Graph 1

 

 

Instead, more than half (56%) have a desire to increase their level of knowledge of a foreign language, but 61% claim that they do not need to know a foreign language for professional activities.

In general, Ukrainians can be divided into four conditional categories regarding learning a foreign language: 1 – have a desire and a need (28%); 2 – have only desire (28%); 3 - have no desire, but there is a need (2%) and 4 - have neither a desire nor a need (42%).

Knowledge of a foreign language is higher among younger, more educated and wealthier people. A relatively greater spread of knowledge of foreign languages is observed in cities with a population of 500,000 or more (77%) and the capital - 84%.

The majority of respondents share the opinion that it is necessary to learn foreign languages at a young age, in particular, the majority (63%) believe that it is necessary to start learning a foreign language at the age of 5-7.

Graph 2

 

 

When it comes to choosing one foreign language that must be learned by a resident of Ukraine, the vast majority of research participants (89%) say English, while 51% of respondents have some knowledge of the English language, at the same time, only 23% can read, write and communicate in this language at everyday and even professional levels.

Graph 3

 

 

Similar optimistic self-assessments of language knowledge (possession of at least one skill) and conservatives (ability to read, write and communicate in everyday life and professional activities) for other foreign languages are: for Polish - 22%-10%, for German -14%- 5%, for French – 7%-2%, Spanish – 3%-1%, Hungarian 2%-0% and Turkish – 1%-1%.

Graph 4

 

 

The participants of the research have the largest experience of learning a foreign language (especially English) during their lifetime in educational institutions - 29% of the adult population studied a foreign language only at school, without resorting to self-education practices.

Ukrainians have limited experience in learning English during the last six months during the war: 46% of the respondents report that they did not use any method to learn English, Ukrainians who studied engaged in self-education and less often applied for language courses or had English classes in educational institutions than before.

Graph 5

 

 

Over the past six months, 61% of respondents had experience using English in everyday life, which is mostly related to leisure and communication with acquaintances. 19% used English in professional activities, 18% in education. The most common experience of using English is: listening to songs (56%), reading instructions / advertisements / menus (55%), reading posts and articles on the Internet (54%), watching videos in English (52%). A significant part of this experience is quite episodic and happens less than once a month.

Every second child (51%) studies English at school, another 27% study it additionally outside the school, and 22% do not study English at all.

Graph 6:

 

 

The absolute share among those who have children - 93% want their child to learn and improve the level of English, this indicator does not depend significantly on the article, the level of English knowledge, the time spent on learning English and the desire to learn it among parents.

Of these 93% of parents, 37% are sure that it will completely change their child's life for the better, and another 55% believe that improving the knowledge of the English language will have a positive effect on the child's future.

What are the incentives and barriers to learning a foreign language among the population of Ukraine?

The category of top motivating factors includes: greater travel opportunities - 43%; interest in learning foreign languages - 36%; more diverse leisure activities (books/films/music) – 33% and the opportunity to work in international companies – 31%.

Graph 7

 

 

If we divide the motives for learning a foreign language into two groups: the first of which characterizes the quality of life (leisure, videos, music, travel, interesting tasks), and the second has a more pragmatic direction (money, career, work duties, etc.), then the parity of their importance for Ukrainians is observed, since 68% of respondents choose motivation related to the quality of life, and 70% of respondents prefer pragmatic incentives. However, for those who need to learn a foreign language (regardless of the desire), pragmatic incentives are somewhat more important than the motivation of "increasing the quality of life").

Among the main top barriers-factors: lack of time - 38%; presence of more important life priorities - 34%; lack of finances – 33% and lack of motivation – 31%.

Graph 8

 

 

How high is the level of mastery of key skills (listening, communication, writing, reading) of the English language among Ukrainians?

On a ten-point scale of self-esteem (subjective indicator), Ukrainians show the following scores (on average): listening – 3.00; communication – 2.89; writing – 2.73, reading – 3.29.

In the course of the research, a single integral indicator of the level of English language proficiency was calculated. This indicator is based on the average values of self-assessment of the level of mastery of four classic skills: communication, listening, writing and reading.

For the entire adult population of Ukraine the only integral indicator of the level of English language proficiency is 2.86 points on a 10-point scale.

You can read more about the distribution of integral indicators among socio-demographic groups from table 1 in the annex:

Annex 1: Tables

Table 1: Distribution of integral indicators of the level of English language proficiency among socio-demographic groups

(The indicator among all respondents aged 18+ in the corresponding category)

 

  Integral indicator of the level of English proficiency
Respondents in general (n=2001) 2,86
Region  
West (n=544) 3,00
Center (n=540) 2,48
South (n=494) 2,68
East (n=264) 2,66
Kyiv (n=159) 4,55
Type of settlement  
City of 500 thousand and more (n=472) 3,77
City 100 to 500 thousand (396) 3,39
City 50-99 thousand (n=131) 2,83
City up to 50 thousand / UTS (n=341) 2,39
Village (n=661) 2,14
Gender  
Male (n=907) 2,73
Female (n=1094) 2,96
Age  
18-29 years (n=316) 4,42
30-44 years (n=584) 3,62
45-59 years (n=522) 2,15
65 years and older (n=579) 1,87
Education  
Complete general secondary or below (n=327) 2,46
Vocational secondary (n=387) 1,61
Secondary specialized (n=306) 2,72
Basic higher (n=260) 3,55
Complete higher education (n=713) 3,52
Employment status  
Entrepreneurs and self-employed (n=259) 3,85
Military personnel (n=35)* 3,37
Employees (n=733) 3,21
Unemployed (n=186) 2,64
Pensioners (n=400) 1,71
Household management, childcare (n=269) 2,17
Student (n=53) 4,90
Income  
Very low (n=93) 1,68
Below average (n=458) 2,16
Average (n=760) 2,79
Above average (n=531) 3,71
High (n=33)* 5,27
Target categories  
Representatives of authorities (n=32)* 3,89
Educators, teachers (n=43)* 4,09
Teachers (n=46)* 4,01
Doctors (n=20)* 3,77
Entrepreneurs (n=90) 3,19
Workers in the field of culture (n=32)* 3,24
Trade and service workers (n=134) 3,18

* The number of respondents is not enough for statistically reliable calculations, so the data are given indicatively.

Table 2: Level of foreign language proficiency by socio-demographic groups

(% among all respondents aged 18+ in the corresponding category)

% in a row Possess foreign languages
Respondents in general (n=2001) 68.2%
Region  
West (n=544) 70.0%
Center (n=540) 61.5%
South (n=494) 68.6%
East (n=264) 67.8%
Kyiv (n=159) 84.3%
Type of settlement  
City of 500 thousand and more (n=472) 76.5%
City 100 to 500 thousand (396) 74.7%
City 50-99 thousand (n=131) 75.6%
City up to 50 thousand / SMT (n=341) 64.2%
Village (n=661) 59.0%
Gender  
Male (n=907) 67.7%
Female (n=1094) 68.6%
Age  
18-29 years (n=316) 86.1%
30-44 years (n=584) 76.9%
45-59 years (n=522) 57.5%
65 years and older (n=579) 59.4%
Education  
Complete general secondary or below (n=327) 67.6%
Vocational secondary (n=387) 53.7%
Secondary specialized (n=306) 64.1%
Basic higher (n=260) 71.2%
Complete higher education (n=713) 77.3%
Employment status  
Entrepreneurs and self-employed (n=259) 81.1%
Military personnel (n=35)* 85.7%
Employees (n=733) 74.4%
Unemployed (n=186) 65.1%
Pensioners (n=400) 52.8%
Household management, childcare (n=269) 56.5%
Student (n=53) 92.5%
Income  
Very low (n=93) 52.7%
Below average (n=458) 69.7%
Average (n=760) 67.5%
Above average (n=531) 71.6%
High (n=33)* 93.9%
Target categories  
Representatives of authorities (n=32)* 90.6%
Educators, teachers (n=43)* 76.7%
Teachers (n=46)* 82.6%
Doctors (n=20)* 85.0%
Entrepreneurs (n=90) 74.4%
Workers in the field of culture (n=32)* 78.1%
Trade and service workers (n=134) 78.4%

                  * The number of respondents is not enough for statistically reliable calculations, so the data are given indicatively.

Table 3: Share of those who know foreign languages by socio-demographic groups

(% among all respondents aged 18+ in the corresponding category)

% in a row English Polish German French Spanish Hungarian
Respondents in general (n=2001) 51.3% 22.0% 14.4% 6.9% 2.9% 1.8% 1.3%
Region              
West (n=544) 49.8% 31.4% 11.8% 5.3% 1.8% 1.8% 1.1%
Center (n=540) 44.8% 15.9% 14.8% 6.1% 3.0% 1.9% .9%
South (n=494) 51.6% 21.9% 15.2% 8.1% 3.0% 2.0% 1.4%
East (n=264) 53.4% 19.3% 15.9% 8.3% 1.9% 2.3% 2.3%
Kyiv (n=159) 73.6% 15.1% 17.0% 8.8% 8.2% .0% 1.3%
Type of settlement              
City of 500 thousand and more (n=472) 65.7% 16.9% 16.5% 7.0% 3.2% .2% 2.1%
City 100 to 500 thousand (396) 58.6% 29.0% 11.9% 5.6% 3.0% .5% .5%
City 50-99 thousand (n=131) 59.5% 17.6% 14.5% 1.5% 2.3% 1.5% 2.3%
City up to 50 thousand / SMT (n=341) 42.5% 23.2% 12.9% 7.6% 3.2% 3.2% .6%
Village (n=661) 39.5% 21.6% 15.1% 8.3% 2.7% 3.0% 1.4%
Gender              
Male (n=907) 49.8% 23.4% 14.2% 6.0% 3.0% 2.5% 1.4%
Female (n=1094) 52.5% 20.8% 14.5% 7.7% 2.9% 1.2% 1.2%
Age              
18-29 years (n=316) 77.8% 25.3% 14.2% 7.3% 3.5% 1.3% 1.6%
30-44 years (n=584) 65.1% 20.9% 14.4% 7.2% 3.6% .3% 1.0%
45-59 years (n=522) 37.5% 19.7% 12.6% 5.2% .8% 1.1% 2.1%
65 years and older (n=579) 35.2% 23.3% 16.1% 7.9% 4.0% 4.1% .7%
Education              
Complete general secondary or below (n=327) 51.4% 28.7% 15.3% 8.6% 5.5% 5.2% 1.2%
Vocational secondary (n=387) 28.9% 18.3% 14.2% 7.0% 1.3% 2.1% .5%
Secondary specialized (n=306) 49.0% 21.6% 8.8% 2.3% 2.0% .7% 1.6%
Basic higher (n=260) 56.2% 23.5% 17.7% 6.9% 1.9% 1.2% 1.5%
Complete higher education (n=713) 62.6% 20.8% 15.3% 8.0% 3.4% .8% 1.4%
Employment status              
Entrepreneurs and self-employed (n=259) 65.6% 26.3% 20.1% 9.3% 4.2% 1.5% .8%
Military personnel (n=35)* 74.3% 28.6% 11.4% 2.9% 5.7% 2.9% .0%
Employees (n=733) 56.5% 22.1% 15.3% 7.8% 2.6% 1.0% .8%
Unemployed (n=186) 51.1% 16.7% 10.8% 5.9% 2.7% 2.2% 2.7%
Pensioners (n=400) 31.5% 23.8% 13.3% 5.3% 2.0% 3.3% 1.0%
Household management, childcare (n=269) 40.9% 16.4% 8.2% 4.1% 4.5% 1.9% 1.9%
Student (n=53) 90.6% 22.6% 26.4% 11.3% 3.8% .0% .0%
Income              
Very low (n=93) 35.5% 19.4% 10.8% 7.5% 1.1% .0% 3.2%
Below average (n=458) 45.6% 23.1% 16.6% 7.6% 4.4% 3.5% .7%
Average (n=760) 50.5% 24.9% 14.2% 6.8% 2.8% 1.7% 2.0%
Above average (n=531) 61.2% 19.0% 11.9% 6.0% 2.3% .9% .4%
High (n=33)* 72.7% 21.2% 33.3% 6.1% 9.1% .0% 3.0%
Target categories              
Representatives of authorities (n=32)* 68.8% 40.6% 28.1% 3.1% 3.1% 3.1% .0%
Educators, teachers (n=43)* 58.1% 23.3% 20.9% 16.3% 4.7% 2.3% .0%
Teachers (n=46)* 58.7% 17.4% 30.4% 17.4% 2.2% .0% 2.2%
Doctors (n=20)* 65.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% .0% .0%
Entrepreneurs (n=90) 47.8% 28.9% 27.8% 12.2% 2.2% 3.3% .0%
Workers in the field of culture (n=32)* 62.5% 15.6% 18.8% 15.6% 6.3% 3.1% 3.1%
Trade and service workers (n=134) 59.0% 26.1% 15.7% 6.0% 3.7% .7% .7%

 

* The number of respondents is not enough for statistically reliable calculations, so the data are given indicatively.

Table 4: Share of those with different English language skills by socio-demographic group

(% among all respondents aged 18+ in the corresponding category)

% in a row No English language skills There are reading and/or writing skills There are communication skills (domestic or professional) There are skills in reading, writing, everyday and professional communication
Respondents in general (n=2001) 48.7% 9.8% 18.5% 23.0%
Region        
West (n=544) 50.2% 9.0% 14.3% 26.5%
Center (n=540) 55.2% 8.7% 17.6% 18.5%
South (n=494) 48.4% 10.5% 21.7% 19.4%
East (n=264) 46.6% 10.2% 24.6% 18.6%
Kyiv (n=159) 26.4% 13.2% 15.7% 44.7%
Type of settlement        
City of 500 thousand and more (n=472) 34.3% 12.9% 20.3% 32.4%
City 100 to 500 thousand (396) 41.4% 11.6% 18.7% 28.3%
City 50-99 thousand (n=131) 40.5% 17.6% 20.6% 21.4%
City up to 50 thousand / SMT (n=341) 57.5% 6.5% 18.5% 17.6%
Village (n=661) 60.5% 6.7% 16.6% 16.2%
Gender        
Male (n=907) 50.2% 9.3% 18.0% 22.6%
Female (n=1094) 47.5% 10.2% 18.9% 23.3%
Age        
18-29 years (n=316) 22.2% 12.7% 25.9% 39.2%
30-44 years (n=584) 34.9% 13.9% 21.1% 30.1%
45-59 years (n=522) 62.5% 9.0% 11.9% 16.7%
65 years and older (n=579) 64.8% 4.8% 17.8% 12.6%
Education        
Complete general secondary or below (n=327) 48.6% 7.3% 25.4% 18.7%
Vocational secondary (n=387) 71.1% 8.0% 11.4% 9.6%
Secondary specialized (n=306) 51.0% 10.1% 18.0% 20.9%
Basic higher (n=260) 43.8% 6.9% 17.3% 31.9%
Complete higher education (n=713) 37.4% 12.8% 19.6% 30.2%
Employment status        
Entrepreneurs and self-employed (n=259) 34.4% 8.9% 23.2% 33.6%
Military personnel (n=35)* 25.7% 17.1% 28.6% 28.6%
Employees (n=733) 43.5% 11.3% 19.1% 26.1%
Unemployed (n=186) 48.9% 10.2% 21.5% 19.4%
Pensioners (n=400) 68.5% 5.0% 13.3% 13.3%
Household management, childcare (n=269) 59.1% 11.5% 15.2% 14.1%
Student (n=53) 9.4% 18.9% 32.1% 39.6%
Income        
Very low (n=93) 64.5% 7.5% 16.1% 11.8%
Below average (n=458) 54.4% 11.1% 21.4% 13.1%
Average (n=760) 49.5% 8.6% 20.0% 22.0%
Above average (n=531) 38.8% 11.5% 16.4% 33.3%
High (n=33)* 27.3% 12.1% 9.1% 51.5%
Target categories        
Representatives of authorities (n=32)* 31.3% 12.5% 28.1% 28.1%
Educators, teachers (n=43)* 41.9% 4.7% 7.0% 46.5%
Teachers (n=46)* 41.3% 6.5% 17.4% 34.8%
Doctors (n=20)* 35.0% 10.0% 20.0% 35.0%
Entrepreneurs (n=90) 52.2% 2.2% 20.0% 25.6%
Workers in the field of culture (n=32)* 37.5% 15.6% 18.8% 28.1%
Trade and service workers (n=134) 41.0% 10.4% 26.1% 22.4%

 

* The number of respondents is not enough for statistically reliable calculations, so the data are given indicatively.

                   

Table 5: Aspiration to learning a foreign language by socio-demographic groups

(% among all respondents aged 18+ in the corresponding category)

% in arow Have desire and need to learn a foreign language Have a desire, but no need No desire, but there is a need to know foreign language Have neither desire nor need
Respondents in general (n=2001) 27,8% 28,1% 2,4% 41,7%
Region        
West (n=544) 27.4% 22.1% 1.3% 49.3%
Center (n=540) 25.2% 31.1% 1.5% 42.2%
South (n=494) 26.3% 31.6% 4.0% 38.1%
East (n=264) 21.2% 24.2% 3.8% 50.8%
Kyiv (n=159) 53.5% 34.0% 1.9% 10.7%
Type of settlement        
City of 500 thousand and more (n=472) 47.0% 35.8% 1.7% 15.5%
City 100 to 500 thousand (396) 37.1% 36.1% 2.8% 24.0%
City 50-99 thousand (n=131) 31.3% 44.3% 2.3% 22.1%
City up to 50 thousand / SMT (n=341) 19.4% 27.6% 2.3% 50.7%
Village (n=661) 12.1% 14.8% 2.7% 70.3%
Gender        
Male (n=907) 25.0% 23.5% 2.9% 48.6%
Female (n=1094) 30.1% 31.9% 2.0% 36.0%
Age        
18-29 years (n=316) 44.0% 30.1% 3.2% 22.8%
30-44 years (n=584) 42.8% 38.4% 1.9% 17.0%
45-59 years (n=522) 24.5% 29.7% 2.1% 43.7%
65 years and older (n=579) 6.7% 15.2% 2.8% 75.3%
Education        
Complete general secondary or below (n=327) 12.8% 8.6% 3.7% 74.9%
Vocational secondary (n=387) 10.9% 27.1% 1.8% 60.2%
Secondary specialized (n=306) 20.9% 26.1% 2.0% 51.0%
Basic higher (n=260) 35.8% 27.3% 2.7% 34.2%
Complete higher education (n=713) 44.0% 38.4% 2.2% 15.3%
Employment status        
Entrepreneurs and self-employed (n=259) 49.4% 27.8% 3.1% 19.7%
Military personnel (n=35)* 22.9% 42.9% 2.9% 31.4%
Employees (n=733) 35.2% 37.2% 2.3% 25.2%
Unemployed (n=186) 29.0% 29.6% 2.7% 38.7%
Pensioners (n=400) 4.8% 13.5% 2.0% 79.8%
Household management, childcare (n=269) 13.8% 25.7% 2.2% 58.4%
Student (n=53) 56.6% 26.4% 3.8% 13.2%
Income        
Very low (n=93) 6.5% 19.4% 2.2% 72.0%
Below average (n=458) 22.5% 28.4% 3.1% 46.1%
Average (n=760) 31.1% 31.6% 2.4% 35.0%
Above average (n=531) 31.8% 26.6% 2.4% 39.2%
High (n=33)* 45.5% 15.2% .0% 39.4%
Target categories        
Representatives of authorities (n=32)* 40.6% 40.6% 3.1% 15.6%
Educators, teachers (n=43)* 55.8% 27.9% 2.3% 14.0%
Teachers (n=46)* 63.0% 26.1% .0% 10.9%
Doctors (n=20)* 40.0% 30.0% 5.0% 25.0%
Entrepreneurs (n=90) 35.6% 32.2% 1.1% 31.1%
Workers in the field of culture (n=32)* 43.8% 37.5% .0% 18.8%
Trade and service workers (n=134) 35.1% 45.5% 3.0% 16.4%

* The number of respondents is not enough for statistically reliable calculations, so the data are given indicatively.

Annex 2: Formulation of questions in the questionnaire

Graph 1: Please indicate whether you have some knowledge of the following foreign languages? Specify all possible options.

(% among all respondents aged 18+)

  In general on the array
Polish 22,0%
Turkish 1,3%
Hungarian 1,8%
Spanish 2,9%
French 6,9%
German 14,4%
English 51,3%
Another one 3,6%
Don’t know any of the above 31,8%

* Based on the results of the obtained data, calculations were made on the number of foreign language skills (one, two, three or more foreign languages).

The full report can be obtained upon request to Vitalii Rudenkyi: vrudenky@transformua.com

Regarding comments, you can contact Maksym Yashnyk: m.yashnik@kiis.com.ua


16.3.2023
Go up | Back
FILTR BY DATE
Year:
Month: