Via the Korea Times comes information that South Korea TOEFL test-takers rank 136th out of 161 nations in speaking skills. They also ranked below average in listening and writing skills, and came out slightly above average only in reading.
According to stats from the International English Language Testing System, South Korea ranked 19th out of 20 countries in English ability in 2006. And in fact South Korea only does slightly better than North Korea on English exams. One reason why South Korean scores are so low is that so many people take the test; earlier stats showed that although South Koreans routinely rank among the world's worst at English, they have the highest number of students taking the Internet-based test.
Korean English teachers don't test too well, either, and a 2006 survey found that fewer than half were able to teach an hour-long class in English. Those are some figures to keep in mind when bureaucrats tell the papers we're not needed.
Things are looking up for South Korea, though, as they boast the world's highest IQ. *cough* *cough*