EDL: Which languages are taught in Europe ?

September 26, 2014

Hat: Eurostat has recently released a study on the language learning and teaching throughout Europe.

Funding Scheme: 2014-09-26

Pgm2014 2020: Yes

Amorce:

The  European Day of languages is a perfect day to introduce the results of this enquiry.

Text:

In the EU28 in 2012, English was still the most commonly studied foreign language at lower secondary level1, with 97.1% of pupils learning it, far ahead of French (34.1%), German (22.1%) and Spanish (12.2%). The importance of English as a foreign language in the EU is also confirmed by its leadership in nearly all Member States.

Since Croatia’s accession, there are 24 official languages recognised within the EU. In addition there are indigenous regional, minority languages and languages that have been brought into the EU by migrant populations. On the occasion of the European Day of Languages2, celebrated each year on 26 September, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes data on language learning at school. The general objectives of this event are to alert the public to the importance of language learning, to promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe and to encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

More and more pupils learn Spanish at lower secondary level in the EU. The proportions of pupils at lower secondary level studying English, French, German or Spanish as a foreign language have each increased between 2005 and 2012 at the EU level, albeit in different ways. The most remarkable increase in relative terms during this period was recorded for the learning of Spanish, from 7.4% of the total pupils at lower secondary level learning it in 2005 to 12.2% in 2012.
 
English, French, German and Spanish learning at lower secondary level in the EU, 2005-2012 (as % of the total pupils at this level)
French studied by 34% of pupils at lower secondary level in the EU28, German by 22%. In 2012 at lower secondary level, English was the most commonly studied foreign language in the EU28, with shares above 90% of pupils in all Member States except Belgium (45.4%), Luxembourg (54.4%), Hungary (62.6%), Bulgaria (86.2%) and Portugal (86.4%). Between 2005 and 2012, the proportion of pupils learning English at lower secondary level increased in nearly all Member States, except Portugal (from 98.3% in 2005 to 86.4% in 2012), Spain (from 98.4% to 98.1%) and Latvia (from 96.2% to 96.1%).

French was studied by more than half of pupils at this level in Luxembourg3 (100.0%), Cyprus (91.7%), Romania (85.7%), Italy (69.9%), Ireland (63.5%), the Netherlands (57.7%) and Portugal (57.4%). Among Member States for which data are available, the proportion of students at lower secondary level learning French as a foreign language decreased between 2005 and 2012 in fourteen Member States, increased in nine and remained stable in Luxembourg.

At least half of the pupils at lower secondary level were studying German as a foreign language in 2012 in Luxembourg3 (100.0%), Denmark (73.5%), Poland (69.2%), the Netherlands (51.5%) and Slovakia (50.2%), while Spanish was studied by more than a fifth in Sweden (42.3%), France (36.2%), Portugal (21.6%) and Italy (20.5%). The learning of Spanish has increased or remained stable between 2005 and 2012 in all of the Member States for which data are available.

Url description: Press of the European Commission

Url: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-14-144_en.htm

Url info description: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-14-144_en.htm

Url info: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STAT-14-144_en.htm