Spanish popular in school in Norway

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Spanish popular in the lower secondary school in Norway

Spanish is at the top of the list for secondary school students who choose a third language. German is at a solid number two, while French is third.


Almost half of the third-language students choose Spanish. Since 2011, the share has increased by 2.3 percentage points, to 46 per cent, Statistics Norway reports.

At the same time, the proportion of French students has fallen by 4.6 percentage points to just 16 per cent. In the middle, the German pupils are with a share of 37.5 per cent.

There are large variations between the counties when it comes to language selection. In Sogn og Fjordane, German is by far the most popular, while Finnmark is the county where most students choose a language other than the three most common. There, several students have Russian than French at secondary school.

Farthest in the Nordic region

According to figures from Eurydice, fewer Norwegian students take a third language than elsewhere in the Nordic countries. Only 72 per cent of Norwegian secondary school students follow a foreign language class in addition to English.

Iceland and Finland have shares that are approaching 100 percent, but both of these countries have at least two compulsory Nordic languages in secondary school. In Finland, they learn Swedish, while in Iceland they must learn Danish in addition to English and Icelandic.

Compared to the Scandinavian countries, Norway is somewhat below Sweden, with 77.5 per cent choosing a third language, and Denmark, where the proportion is up 84 per cent.

Least popular in Europe

Also in Europe, English, German, French and Spanish are the most common foreign languages, but outside the Nordic region, Spanish is the least popular and the French at the top.

Only 13 per cent of secondary school students in Europe take Spanish. French, on the other hand, has 34 per cent of other European students.

In addition, Spanish is the only one of the three languages that aren’t mandatory in any country. German and French are mandatory in countries with two or more official languages, such as Belgium (together with Flemish), Luxembourg and Switzerland.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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