English was the most commonly studied foreign language in comprehensive schools in the autumn term 2018. Seventy-four per cent of students in grades 1 to 6 studied English, according to the information published by Statistics Finland.
The share of students studying English increased by three percentage points from the previous year in grades 1 to 6. Almost all students in grades 7 to 9 studied English.
Nineteen per cent of students in grades 1 to 6 and 92 per cent of students in grades 7 to 9 studied also Swedish as a foreign language. Swedish is Finland's second official language. Around 5,3 per cent of the population speak Swedish, mainly in the western coastal areas of the country.
Nearly all pupils attending grades 7 to 9 studied both English and Swedish or Finnish either as mother tongue, or as a compulsory, optional or elective foreign language.
German was studied by 10 per cent and French by 5 per cent of the pupils attending grades 7 to 9, mainly as an optional or elective foreign language. 2.9 per cent studied Spanish and 2 per cent studied Russian.
A total of 370,020 pupils attended grades 1 to 6. 189,545 of the pupils were boys and 180,475 were girls. A total of 180,058 pupils attended grades 7 to 9. 92,100 of the pupils were boys and 87,958 were girls.