85% of pupils are learning foreign languages; 95% of adults know at least one foreign language

26.09.2013

85% of the total number of pupils in general schools are learning foreign languages*. In primary education (grades 1-6) 73% of pupils are learning foreign languages, in basic education (grades 7-9) – 98%, but in secondary education (grades 10-12) all pupils are learning foreign languages. 51% of pupils, learning foreign languages, are learning two and more foreign languages.

Teaching of foreign languages in general schools in 2012/2013 (as per cent)

 

Total

Grades 1-6

Grades 7-9

Grades 10-12

Pupils learning foreign languages

100

100

100

100

1 foreign language

48.9

79.6

26.3

17.9

2 foreign languages

47.7

19.9

72.3

70.6

3 and more foreign languages

3.4

0.5

1.4

11.5

Majority of pupils (97.9%) are learning English, followed by Russian (39.7%). German is learnt by 13.4% of pupils, but French – by 2.2%.

Teaching of foreign languages in general schoolsby language (as per cent)

Pupils learning

Total

Grades 1-6

Grades 7-9

Grades 10-12

English

97.9

97.4

98.4

98.5

Russian

39.7

15.2

63.5

57.4

German

13.4

6.5

11.7

29.0

French

2.2

1.1

1.0

5.8

Without the languages mentioned before pupils at schools also learn Arabian, Danish, Estonian, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Chinese, Latin, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Finnish, Spanish and Swedish languages.

According to the data of Adult Education Survey** carried out by the Central Statistical Bureau, 95% of Latvian adults aged 25 to 64 know at least one foreign language, but 5% do not know any foreign language. According to the latest data of EU Statistical Office Eurostat***, at least one foreign language is known by 65.7% of EU population on average. What concerns knowledge of foreign languages, Latvia is third in the European Union right after Lithuania, where at least one foreign language is known by 97.3% of population, and Luxembourg, where at least one foreign language is known by 98.9%.

The majority of Latvian population – 46% know two foreign languages. It is followed by 36% of population who know one foreign language, but three and more foreign languages are known by 13% of adults. The majority of adults – 57% know Russian. 49% know English, but 18% of population know German.

Knowledge of foreign languages of population by the number (as per cent)

 

Total

Males

Females

Know 1 foreign language

35.6

37.7

33.8

Know 2 foreign languages

46.2

44.2

47.9

Know 3 foreign languages

13.1

12.0

14.2

Do not know any foreign language

5.1

6.1

4.1

Knowledge of foreign languages of population by sex (as per cent)

 

Total

Males

Females

Russian

56.6

57.4

55.8

English

48.9

46.3

51.3

German

18.3

17.2

19.3

Lithuanian

1.9

2.0

1.7

French

1.7

1.0

2.4

Polish

1.5

2.0

1.1

Ukrainian

1.3

1.4

1.1

On September 26 European Day of Languages is already celebrated for the tenth time. Celebration of the European Day of Languages promotes lifelong learning of languages, which allows population to participate in Europe’s democratic processes and professional development of full value. In Latvia children start learning foreign languages already in pre-school establishments.

 

* Information on school year 2012/2013 (Ministry of Education and Science data)
** Information from Adult Education Survey (2011). The information mentioned is subjective evaluation of respondents when answering questions of the survey.
*** Mean EU indicators do not include data on Croatia, Finland, the Great Britain and Ireland.

 

 

More information:
Anita Švarckopfa
Culture, Education, Science and Health Statistics Section
Tel: + 371 67366648