Cyprus is one of the countries in the European Union with the lowest percentage of pupils in upper secondary general education that studied two or more foreign languages in 2019, according to data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical service.
The percentage of students in upper secondary education learning two or more languages in Cyprus in 2019 was 38%, while the EU average was at 59%. Cyprus had a higher percentage after Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.
The average across the EU is relatively high due to the fact that all students in upper secondary general education studied two or more foreign languages in Luxembourg and France, and that 99% did so in Estonia, Romania, Czech Republic and Finland, followed closely by Slovakia (98%), Croatia (95%) and Slovenia (92%).
In Greece, only 1% of students in upper secondary general education studied two or more foreign languages in 2019. Low shares of language learners were also registered in: Portugal (6%), Ireland (12%), Italy (25%) and Spain (27%), right behind Cyprus.
Eurostat knows that only foreign languages studied as compulsory subjects or as compulsory curriculum options are included in the data. Also, in the case of Luxembourg, even though the official languages in the country are French, German and Luxembourgish, for the purpose of education statistics French and German are counted as foreign languages.
In 2019, English was the most commonly studied foreign language at upper secondary general education level in the EU, with 96% of students learning it.
Spanish ranked second (26%), followed by French (22%), German (20%) and Italian (3%).
Russian was the non-EU language most commonly learned in the EU (3%), especially in Estonia (68%) and Latvia (57%), followed by Lithuania (30%) and Bulgaria (24%).
The most commonly studied foreign language in upper secondary general education in Cyprus is English (100%), followed by French (28%), Russian (6%), Spanish (4%), Italian (2%) and German (1%).