Most students learn a foreign language

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The majority of pupils in primary and secondary education in Cyprus study at least one foreign language, according to Eurostat.

In 2021, 100% of pupils in primary education in Cyprus (86.3% in the EU) were learning at least one foreign language, while in secondary education the share stood at 99.9% in lower secondary and 93.3% in upper secondary education (98.5% and 91.0% in the EU, respectively).

Across the EU, 61% of upper secondary general education students studied two or more foreign languages as compulsory subjects or as compulsory curriculum options, +2.6 percentage points (pp) more than in 2013 (58.4%).

In upper secondary vocational education, this share was 34.9%, +0.8 pp than in 2013 (34.1%).

In Cyprus, the percentage of students who studied two or more foreign languages was 39.0% in upper secondary general education (-44.8 pp compared with 83.8% in 2013) and 30.5% in upper secondary vocational education (+8.7 pp compared with 21.8% in 2013).

In Luxembourg and France, all upper secondary general education students studied two or more foreign languages.

Czechia, Romania and Slovakia also registered a large share of students studying two or more languages (all 99%).

These EU countries were followed closely by Estonia (97%), Slovenia and Finland (both 96%).

For upper secondary vocational education, Romania was the only EU country where almost all students (97%) studied two or more foreign languages in 2021.

Finland (82%) followed, with Poland (77%) and Luxembourg (75%) coming next.

English was the most studied foreign language at the upper secondary general and vocational education level in the EU, with 96.8% and 78.6% of students learning it, respectively.

In Cyprus, most students in upper secondary general education learned English (99.6%), followed by French (28.5%), Russian (5.9%), Spanish (4.7%), Italian (1.7%) and German (1.5%).

Most students in upper secondary vocational education in Cyprus were learning English (94.8%), followed by Russian (14.8%), French (6.0%) and German (0.7%).

In terms of upper secondary general education across the EU, Spanish ranked second (26.8%), followed by French (22.3%), German (21.8%) and Italian (3.2%).

Russian was the non-EU language most commonly learned in the EU (2.8%), especially in Estonia (66%) and Latvia (59%), followed by Lithuania (28%) and Bulgaria (25%).

In upper secondary vocational education in the EU, the German language came second (17.9%), followed by French (16.4%), Spanish (7.0%) and Russian (2.2%).

In this case, Russian was mostly learned in Latvia (42%), Bulgaria (30%) and Cyprus (15%).