New studies highlight citizens’ language skills and challenges ahead
A Special Eurobarometer has been conducted on “Europeans and their languages” (see a summary) between February and March 2012 and released today. Around nine in ten Europeans (88%) find foreign languages useful for their personal development and almost everyone (98%) think they are for children to learn for their future, English coming in the first place (79%). Yet the survey shows that only half of European citizens are able to hold a conversation in another language (54%) and 75% have never or not recently learnt a language. School is still the main place to learn a language (68%); however the “First European Survey on Language Competences” also released this month shows great variations in educational systems: 82% of students reach the level of independent users for English as a foreign language in Malta or Sweden, and only 14% in France.