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Most Bulgarian school pupils are learning English as a second language, Russian runs second

Most Bulgarian school pupils are learning English as a second language, Russian runs second

Close to 99 per cent of Bulgarian school pupils are learning a second language, and of these, 87 per cent are studying English, according to figures for the year 2015 released by European Union statistics office Eurostat.

Just more than 83 per cent of school pupils in Bulgaria were learning a single second language, while 16.5 per cent were learning two or more, Eurostat said.

While English was by far the most common choice of second language at schools, Russian came in at a distant second, at just less than 17 per cent.

Across the EU, Russian was the only commonly studied non-EU language, coming in second - apart from in Bulgaria - in the three Baltic States – Lithuania (66.2 per cent), Estonia (63.6 per cent) and Latvia (59.7 per cent).

Learning a foreign language at school is very common in the EU, with more than 17 million lower secondary school pupils (or 98.6 per cent of all pupils at this education level) studying at least one foreign language in 2015.

Among them, more than 10 million (58.8 per cent) were studying two foreign languages or more.

English was by far the most popular language at lower secondary level, studied by nearly 17 million pupils (97.3 per cent).

French (five million or 33.8 per cent) came second, followed by German (three million or 23.1 per cent) and Spanish (two million or 13.6 per cent).

In 2015, all or nearly all lower secondary school pupils learnt at least two foreign languages in Luxembourg (100 per cent), Finland (98.4 per cent), Italy (95.8 per cent), Estonia (95.4 per cent) and Romania (95.2 per cent).

In contrast, fewer than 10 per cent of pupils were studying two or more languages in Hungary (6.0 per cent) and Austria (8.8 per cent).

English is by far the main foreign language studied during lower secondary education in the vast majority of EU countries.

In particular, all pupils attend English classes in Denmark, Malta and Sweden.

French is one of the two main foreign languages studied by all pupils in Luxembourg and is also the top foreign language studied in Ireland (by 60.4 per cent of pupils) and Belgium (52.8 per cent).

In addition, French is the second most popular foreign language studied at lower secondary level in nine EU countries, with the highest shares of learners recorded in Cyprus (89.2 per cent), Romania (83.6 per cent), Portugal (66.6 per cent), Italy (65.4 per cent) and the Netherlands (55.6 per cent).

Besides being studied by all pupils in Luxembourg, German ranks second in eight EU countries, with the highest shares being registered in Denmark (73.6 per cent), Poland (69.2 per cent) and Slovakia (53.6 per cent).

Learning Spanish is notably popular in Sweden (43.7 per cent) and France (39 per cent), Eurostat said./IBNA

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