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EU special: English by Numbers

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The British Council’s latest report, looking at the future of English language learning in seven European countries, reveals some interesting statistics, Irena Barker writes

The British Council’s latest report The Future Demand for English in Europe: 2025 and Beyond reveals a range of statistics and potential trends for seven key countries, including France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

Most strikingly, perhaps, is the report’s prediction that the numbers of potential English learners across those countries is set to drop by 8.8 per cent between 2015 and 2025 (from 172.5 million to 157.2 million).

This varies by country from a 16 per cent fall in Romania to a 5.8 per cent drop in Italy. The demand from different age groups is also expected to fall: the 15 – 34 age group is expected to drop by 15.7 per cent and the 35-54 age group will plunge by 16.4 per cent.

The report claims ‘demographic changes’ are principally to blame. But it is also down to government initiatives to improve English in state schools.

The study does, however, report an increase in the number of older people wanting to learn or improve their English. In the 55+ age group, numbers are expected to rise from 73.2 million to 74 million. To view the full report go to https://tinyurl.com/yc4tognn