79% of children were studying a foreign language at primary school in 2008
In the EU in 2008, 79% of pupils at primary level and 83% of those in upper secondary level general programmes were studying a foreign language. At both levels, English was the usual first foreign language. A second foreign language was studied by 10% of pupils at primary level and 39% at upper secondary level, with French and German the most common.
Almost all primary pupils study a foreign language in Luxembourg, Sweden, Italy and Spain.
The highest shares of pupils in primary education studying a foreign language in 2008 were found in Luxembourg and Sweden (both 100%), Italy (99%) and Spain (98%), and the lowest in Ireland (3%), the Netherlands (32%) and Hungary (33%). The proportion of pupils in primary education studying a second foreign language was highest in Luxembourg (83%) and Greece (24%).
Almost all students in upper secondary education general programmes in the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden were studying a foreign language. The lowest shares of students studying a foreign language were found in the United Kingdom (32%) and Ireland (58%). More than 80% of students were studying a second foreign language in Finland (92%), the Netherlands (86%) and Romania (83%).