EF Education First
Logo originally designed by Paul Rand
Number of employees
EF Education First (abbreviated as EF) is an international education company that specializes in language training, educational travel, academic degree programs, and cultural exchange. The company was founded in 1965 by Bertil Hult in the Swedish university town of Lund. The company is privately held by the Hult family.
As of 2014 EF had approximately 37,000 employees in 55 countries.
Bertil Hult dropped out of college to launch EF in 1965. He had earlier dropped out of junior high and gone to work for a ship broker in London, where he learned English by immersion; he had been unable to learn it in school due to dyslexia. The company started selling French language course to Swedish students seeking to study in France, but he thought English was a bigger market so started offering services throughout Europe. In 1972 a friend convinced him to open a school in Japan, just when English-language keyboards were introduced there, and the company experienced explosive growth. The company expanded to the US in 1983, first establishing headquarters in California, then in Boston in 1988.
Hult never took outside investment, growing the business with revenue. By 2014 EF had approximately 37,000 employees in 55 countries. By that time Hult had stopped running the company and had passed leadership to three of his sons, Philip, Alex and Eddie
EF Learning Labs publishes the annual EF English Proficiency Index, a ranking of English language skills by country. The EF EPI claims to show a link between a country’s adult English proficiency and its competitiveness.
The company also offers e-learning program for adults called "EF English Live", which was formerly known as "EF Englishtown". Through a division called EF Tours, the company offers educational tours, service learning tours, and conferences.
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