Spanish primary school kids rank top of the class for learning English

The Local Spain
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Spanish primary school kids rank top of the class for learning English
A stock photo of children in a classroom. Photo: Public Domain Images."

Nearly 100 percent of Spanish primary school students are studying English, ranking Spain among the top European Union countries for multilingual learning.


A report published on Thursday by Eurostat showed that 99.6 percent of Spanish children under 12 were studying a foreign language in 2013 - the fourth highest percentage in the EU.

Of that 99.6 percent studying another language, 99 percent were learning English, ranking Spain only behind Austria (99.7 percent) for countries where English is not an official language.

In Malta, 100 percent of school children study English, which is one of the country’s two official languages.

Another 5.8 percent of Spanish primary schoolers were studying two or more foreign languages at once, with French being the second most popular language behind English.

Students 11 or older in Spain were also seemingly avid language-learners, with 99.4 percent studying English, 38.7 percent studying French and 3.1 percent studying German.

This figure put Spain- on paper at least - in league with known-English aficionados in Scandinavia, like Sweden and Norway, where 100 percent of lower secondary students were studying English.

Still, the Eurostat study did not indicate the level of proficiency achieved by Spanish students of English when compared to their European counterparts.

The Spanish language itself was not found so favoured among European schoolchildren, with an EU average of just 11.6 percent of lower secondary students picking up the Castilian tongue.

Learning a second or even third language could prove almost essential for Spanish schoolchildren when they one day hit the job market, as another study also published on Thursday shows.

About one in three job postings in Spain seeks potential employees who can speak at least one other foreign language, according to the report by Swiss human resources firm Adecco and job board website Infoempleo.

English was by far the most requested language in job listings, with nine out of ten posts that ask for a second language stating English was a requirement for employment.


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