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English proficiency is higher in almost every large city than in its surrounding region and capitals outperform their country as a whole. The economy is the most likely driver of this urban/rural divide. More jobs and better salaries draw ambitious individuals from the countryside. Once in the city, office jobs and a more international environment expose them to English more frequently. Although closing this gap is unlikely, countries can avoid deepening it by ensuring English instruction in rural schools is at least as good as in urban ones.
1) What is the main idea of the passage?
2) The phrase “a more international environment” refers to?
There is an increasingly clear relationship between a society’s connectedness to the world, its level of equality and freedom, and its level of English. The simplest relationship to explain is between a country’s level of outward focus and its English. It is a
virtuous cycle. Places that engage heavily with the world (economically, scientifically, diplomatically, etc.) need English, so English becomes a priority. And through their engagement with the world, adults have more exposure to English, which in turn raises proficiency.
The more complex relationship is between English and fairness, and yet we find strong and consistent correlations between English and gender equality, social mobility, and freedom. Inequality appears to dampen English proficiency, perhaps by leaving a portion of the population behind when it comes to English learning opportunities.
3) Which of the following is closest in meaning to the word “connectedness” in line 1?
4) According to the passage, what would happen if there is inequality in English?
Propelled by digital tools, the 21st century has seen an unprecedented exchange of information and ideas across borders. As global English skills improve and the costs of travel and communication decline, that exchange will only speed up.
Today, scientists and engineers simply cannot afford to miss out on global innovation because of language barriers, and it is not just them who need to access new ideas. In every field, professionals need to stay abreast of international best practices. For companies, too, a culture of English proficiency makes it possible to tap pools of talent and expertise that, just a few years ago, would have been out of reach.
Reflecting these trends, we have found a high correlation between English proficiency and the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (Graph A), a report that assesses a country’s ability to attract, develop, and retain skilled workers.
5) The word “professionals” in line 4 refers to?
6) In line 5, the author uses the expression “out of reach” to indicate that?
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