Since the turn of the millennium, language teaching in the UK has been at the lowest levels of high school, with the highest number of Germans and French.
The BBC’s analysis shows that the numbers attesting to GCSE language courses in the most affected areas of England have been falling between 30% and 50% since 2013.
A separate university survey suggests that a third party has removed at least one language from its GCSE options.
In England, ministers say they are taking steps to reverse the decline.
The BBC tried to communicate with each of the more than 4,000 normal high schools in the UK, and more than half, 2,048, responded.
Most said that the perception of languages as a difficult subject is the main reason for the decline in the number of students studying for exams.
Languages ”a high risk option”
At Carmel College, St. Helens, Merseyside, sixth grade teachers can still learn French at level A, but German is no longer offered.
Students come from 120 high schools to the university, and only a handful still offer German at GCSE, so there were not enough students to complete a successful A-level course.
The director, Mike Hill, says the university has seen that the number of students who want to learn modern foreign languages has dropped sharply in recent years.
“If we have 25 subjects in other subjects, it is very difficult to justify small subjects in other subjects, even though we are a great university.”
This also means that cultural ties are lost, as they had to give up a long-term student exchange with the German city of Stuttgart.
Mr. Hill believes that languages are now viewed as a high-risk option by schools and students, as many believe it is harder to get a high score on exams.
While German and French, the languages of two of Britain’s closest trading partners, have actually declined at the GCSE level, others, such as Spanish and Mandarin, have experienced a significant increase.
In 2001, only 2,500 students had a language other than French, German, Spanish or Welsh.
For the year 2017, it had been 9,400.
Business organizations expressed concern over the lack of language skills in the UK.
Matthew Fell, British policy director for the CBI Group, said: “Employers’ demand for French, German and Spanish has increased significantly in recent years.
“The decline in language learning in schools must be reversed, otherwise the UK will be less competitive and young people are less prepared for the modern world.”
“In addition to speaking a foreign language, it is equally important to strengthen the cultural awareness of young people and to work with people from all over the world.”
The national numbers for the language exam entries do not show the complete and complex picture.
Only by analyzing data at the municipal level does it become clear how quickly some languages were abandoned in GCSE.
This is a decline that the introduction of the baccalaureate should prevent in English, a group of core subjects in GCSE that includes a language.
In 2017, there were 37 local authorities in England, where the total number of GCSEs or participation in the tests was less than in a public school: Eton.
In three municipalities in England in the same year there was no entry of GCSE into German state schools.
High schools accounted for 8% of GCSE entries from public schools in 2017, although there are only 163 grammars in England.
The education will be transmitted to the assemblies of Northern Ireland and Wales and to the Scottish Parliament.
Nick Gibb, Westminster’s school standards minister, says the overall picture is improving in England.
“Since 2010, the proportion of children speaking a GCSE language has increased from 40% to 46% in 2018, and we are determined to see this additional increase.
“We are taking a number of measures to achieve this, for example by creating a new network of schools that specialize in foreign language teaching, to share their knowledge and best practices with others, and to build a new mentoring project to interest them the students promote the languages. “
The English government is also investing in support of Mandarin education with the goal that by 2020, 5,000 students will be “on the way to fluidity”.