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19. How many foreign languages are IVET students learning?

Indicator 2040: average number of foreign languages learned in IVET in upper secondary education
Figure 19 Average number of foreign languages learned in IVET, including comparison with a similar indicator for graduates from upper secondary general education

Knowledge of foreign languages enables individuals to move freely and successfully between education programmes in different Member States and also permits individuals to pursue employment in different countries.

Languages also support companies in taking up and expanding business opportunities. The indicator below considers the extent to which foreign language skills are taught in IVET programmes in Europe

The indicator is defined as the average number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary vocational education. EU averages are estimated from available country data.

Figure 19: Average number of foreign languages learned in IVET, including comparison with a similar indicator for graduates from upper secondary general education

Source: Eurostat, UOE data collection on education.

Key points

In the EU, the average number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary IVET was 1.0 in 2015, lower than in upper secondary general education (with an average of 1.6 languages). This pattern holds in most EU Member States as well. The exceptions are Italy, Poland, Romania (where general and vocational education are reported to have values on par) and Portugal (where the average number of foreign languages learned is higher in IVET compared to programmes with a general orientation).

In 2015, the average number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary IVET was highest in Luxembourg (2.1) followed by Romania (2.0) and Finland (1.9). Luxembourg and Finland also report the highest number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary general education, 3.0 and 2.5, respectively. In contrast, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, and Spain had an average number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary IVET programmes of less than 1.0. Excepting the Netherlands, these countries also had numbers below the EU average in upper secondary general education. Portugal, however, is the only country where the average number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary general education is below 1.0. Estimates for the EU level do not suggest major improvements in the number of foreign language learned in IVET and the only country with remarkable favourable progress is Latvia (+0.4).

The two non-EU countries for which data are available, Iceland and Norway, record a number of foreign languages learned in upper secondary IVET of 0.6, well below the EU average.

Table 19: Average number of foreign languages learned in IVET, including comparison with a similar indicator for graduates from upper secondary general education

Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative trend based on more than two data points and of magnitude 0.1 per year or more. Trends based on more than two data points but of smaller magnitude are indicated by →; trends based on two points only are marked ▪. Trends are estimated by means of regression models.
The EU28 values are based on 28 countries, with partial information for NL.
(b) Break after 2010. Therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: "low reliability". (z) Eurostat: "not applicable". (e) Eurostat: "estimated".

Source: Eurostat, UOE data collection on education.

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Annex 1: short description of indicators and additional notes

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Annex 2: Reading the indicator statistical overviews

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01/02/2018