Ireland has lowest rate of students learning languages

A new report from Eurostat shows that the number of students learning an international language is well below the EU average

Ireland has the lowest rate of students learning foreign languages.

A new report from Eurostat shows that only 88.3% of students in the country learn an international language while the EU average is 98.6%.

French at 60.4% is the most popular choice with Irish students, followed by German at 23.9%.

Ruth Deasy of the EU Commission said we are way behind our European counterparts:

"Ireland is quite out of line when it comes to foreign language learning," she said. "We have a special situation in that we have Irish learned in schools, but it's still a very big gap.

"When it comes to learning two or more languages, only 12% of Irish secondary school students do so, which is very much below the average."

There were 339,207 students attending secondary schools across Ireland in the year 2014/2015.

The Department of Education was contacted for comment.