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One in four EU school pupils learn German

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A child writes the German word for 'school' on a blackboard. Photo: APA/DPA
11:02 CEST+02:00
Almost one in four schoolchildren in Europe are learning German, according to research from the EU to mark the European Day of Languages on Friday.

In the EU’s 28 countries, English is far and away the most popular language learnt by secondary school children, figures from 2012 show.

Just over 97 percent learn English, while 34 percent take French classes and 22 percent are being taught German.

The German figure has risen from 19 percent in 2005 and in some countries more than half of children are taught German, with 73.5 percent in Denmark and almost 70 percent in Poland.

There have also been some huge rises in the percentage of pupils learning German since 2005, with notable increases in Croatia, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Greece.

But among the success stories are falls too. In Scandinavia fewer pupils are learning German. Denmark, Sweden and Finland recorded drops of 17 percent, seven percent and five percent respectively between 2005 and 2012.

And in other countries, German has next to no representation in schools, particularly Portugal, Cyprus and Spain. The figure for Belgium is low because German is not considered to be a foreign language.

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