Sunday, March 2, 2008

English in Spain


According to a recent survey by researchers at IPSOS, 81% of Spaniards do not know English well, while only 4% have an advanced level of knowledge. Looking closer at the results, 20% have a basic knowledge, 19% very basic and 15% intermediate.
.
Perhaps even more revealing were the findings that only 2% of the population are currently studying English and that 73% have never studied it outside of the basic classes provided in the country's school system.
.
The highest percentage, 51%, of people lacking the ability to communicate in English occurred in towns with populations under 10,000. At the other end of the scale, 36% of those in metropolitan areas over 750,000 inhabitants could not communicate in English.
.
Among respondents from 25 to 45 years of age, 46% of the women did not know English, compared with 38% of the men.
.
As for educational background, 48% of those that had not attended university said they did not know English, followed by 39% with a basic level, 11% intermediate and 2% advanced. Of the 40% of those with university studies, 40% possessed an intermediate knowledge of English, 37% basic, 14% advanced and only 8% said they did had no knowledge of the language.
.
By geographical areas, the largest percentage of those who did not know English were in the center of Spain (57%), followed by the south (50%), and the northwest (31%). The areas with the highest concentration of advanced levels were in the metropolitan area of Madrid (8%) and the East Coast (7%).
.
Among people between 25 and 45 years, only 2% were currently studying English. The majority of these were doing so in an academy (54%) or via the Internet (22%). Other options were self study courses (13%), classes at work (11%), distance learning (9%) with a private teacher (8%) and at a city's publicly funded Official School of Languages.
.
Among those not currently studying English but who had taken a course in the last five years, the most popular choice was a language academy (58%), followed by a distance course (11%), a private teacher (10%), studying abroad (10%), and Internet (3%).
.
Although a majority of those surveyed thought it was very important to know English, 43% of those not currently studying the language cited a lack of interest as their reason for not doing so.
.
Well, it looks like there is real need for the promises the two major political parties have made in the current electoral campaign about implementing programs are supposed to result in all high school graduates 10 years from now being fluent in English. Interestingly, neither of the candidates for Prime Minister (Zapatero and Rajoy) speak English. And for those of you who may have heard former Prime Minister Aznar speaking English on the news, he only learned it after he left office.
.
Chao amig@s,
.
Carloz

1 comment:

Carloz said...

Does anyone know if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John McCain speak Spanish? What about Gordon Brown? ¡Lo dudo!