English, Russian, German most popular foreign languages for study in Latvia

Latvia ranks fairly highly in new data published by Eurostat relating to language learning. The data is based on figures from 2020.

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%.

Language study in EU, 2020

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%.

Languages learned 

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%).

Foreign language study in EU, 2020
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