The majority of pupils in primary and secondary education in the European Union study at least one foreign language: in 2020, 96.1% of pupils in primary education, 98.4% of students in lower secondary and 90.3% in upper secondary education in the EU studied at least one foreign language.
For Latvia the equivalent figures were 98.2%, 98% and 93.6%.
In 2020, 60% of pupils in upper secondary general education in the EU studied two or more foreign languages as compulsory subjects or as compulsory curriculum options. In Latvia the figure was 82%. In upper secondary vocational education, this share was 35% for the EU as a whole and 54% for Latvia.
In Luxembourg and France, all students in upper secondary general education studied two or more foreign languages. Romania, Finland and Czechia also registered a large share of students studying two or more languages (all 99%). These Member States were followed closely by Slovakia and Estonia (both 98%), Slovenia (96%) and Croatia (94%).
When it comes to upper secondary vocational education, Romania led as the only Member State where almost all students (97%) studied two or more foreign languages in 2020. Finland (89%) followed, with Luxembourg and Poland (both 77%) coming next. Latvia lagged slightly in this measure, recording 54% but was still way above the EU average of 35%.
In 2020, English was the most commonly studied foreign language at the upper secondary general and vocational education level in the EU, with 96% and 79% of students learning it, respectively.
In terms of general education, Spanish ranked second (27%), followed by French (22%), German (21%) and Italian (3%). In addition, Russian was the non-EU language most commonly learned in the EU (3%), especially in Estonia (67%) and Latvia (57%), followed by Lithuania (30%) and Bulgaria (24%).
In vocational education, German came in second (18%), followed by French (17%), Spanish (7%) and Russian (2%). In this case, Russian was learned in Latvia (44%), Bulgaria (25%) and Cyprus (16%).
Over all, the most popular foreign languages studied in Latvia were English (98%), Russian (56%), German (26%), French (6%) and Spanish (2.5%).