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60% of lower secondary level pupils in EU studied more than one foreign language

Staff writer |
Learning a foreign language at school is very common in the European Union (EU), with around 18 million lower secondary school pupils (or 98.6% of all pupils at this level) studying at least one foreign language in 2014.

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Among them, nearly 11 million (59.9%) were studying two foreign languages or more.

English was by far the most popular language at lower secondary level, studied by more than 17 million pupils (97.3%). French (5 million or 33.7%) came second, followed by German (3 million or 23.1%) and Spanish (2 million or 13.1%).

These data come from a report issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Currently there are 24 official languages recognised within the EU.

In addition there are regional languages, minority languages, and languages spoken by migrant populations. It should also be noted that several EU Member States have more than one official language.

In 2014, all or nearly all lower secondary school pupils learnt at least two foreign languages in Luxembourg (100%), Finland (98.5%), Italy (98.4%), Estonia (96.3%) and Romania (95.6%).

In contrast, fewer than 10% of pupils were studying two or more languages in Hungary (6.3%), Ireland (7.9%) and Austria (9.5%).