English is the most studied language at primary and secondary levels in the EU. Almost all students (97.3%) learnt English during lower secondary education in 2014. In addition, the proportion of students learning English at primary level has increased at EU level by 18.7 percentage points since 2005, reaching a total of 79.4%.
French is the next most common foreign language studied in lower secondary education, with 33.3% of students at EU level learning the language in 2014. German is the third most popular foreign language with 23.1% of students, followed by Spanish with 13.1%.
The findings are contained in the latest Eurydice report "Key Data on Teaching Languages at School in Europe" which depicts the main education policies regarding teaching and learning of languages in 42 European education systems.
Some of the questions answered in the report:
- How long do students spend studying foreign languages?
- What are the ten most commonly offered foreign languages?
- Do foreign language teachers travel abroad for training?
- How many immigrant students speak the language of schooling at home?
In the European Union, 66 languages have official status, from which 26 languages are official state languages. An official language means that the language is used for legal and public administration purposes within a specified area of any given state.