Last school year 23 pupils in Icelandic elementary schools studied Chinese, which has not been taught before at compulsory school level in Iceland since Statistics Iceland began collecting data on foreign language studies in 1999.
From China. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
The number of schools where pupils start learning foreign languages before it becomes compulsory as part of the curriculum is increasing; 463 pupils in compulsory education studied Spanish, 179 pupils German and 174 pupils French last school year.
Among other things the data show that never before has the number of pupils in compulsory schools learning English been greater, at 78.9 percent.
English is the first foreign language taught at compulsory school level and also the most common language, followed by Danish.
However, in many schools pupils who already know some Norwegian or Swedish can select those languages instead of Danish.
Statistics Iceland published data on students in compulsory education and upper secondary schools learning foreign languages during the school year 2010-2011 at the occasion of the European Day of Languages, September 26.
Click here to read more about the statistics.