In the year 2004/2005 72,2% of pupils of lower secondary schools learnt English as a compulsory language, 30,6% - learnt German, 3,3% - Russian and 1,7% - French.
The striking thing is that the number of pupils (389.333) learning German as a second non-compulsory subject was twice as big as the number of pupils learning English (195.170).
There is one type of schools where more pupils learn German than English. These are vocational schools, however we can observe a slight increase in the number of pupils learning English. In the school year 1997/1998 52% of young people learnt German in this type of school and 13% learnt English. In the school year 2004/2005 the level was respectively 33,5% and 29,9%.
It is worth mentioning that the foreign language teaching as a non-compulsory subject in vocational school is not universal (350 persons).
2.2.4. Foreign language teaching in general upper secondary schools
Pupils of general upper secondary schools learn two compulsory foreign languages. The biggest absolute and relative increase in the school year 2004/2005, in comparison with the previous year, concerned German language (11,9%).
The table below presents the number of pupils as well as the percentage of young people learning specific foreign languages in this type of school in the school year 2004/2005:
Source: Ministry of National Education Incidence of foreign language teaching in a form of compulsory subjects is only slightly lower than the incidence of foreign language teaching as compulsory and non-compulsory subjects together. This is due to the fact that only a small number of pupils in general upper secondary schools learns additional foreign language.
2.2.5. Foreign language teaching in other types of upper secondary schools
In other types of upper secondary schools i.e. in technical and specialised upper secondary schools there are two dominant foreign languages: English (660.670 pupils) and German (548.280 pupils).
The situation is similar in post secondary schools (English - 35.510 pupils, and German - 12.120 pupils).
English dominates in 15 voivodships and is the second most dominant language only in one - Lubuskie Voivodship (followed by German). The situation concerning German language is reversed.
English is most prevalent in: Podlaskie, Śląskie and Podkarpackie Voivodship; German in Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie and Zachodniopomorskie; French in: Śląskie, Małopolskie and Mazowieckie Voivodship; and Russian in: Lubelskie, Mazowieckie and Podlaskie Voivodship.
English is much less prevalent in: Lubuskie, Dolnośląskie and Wielkopolskie; German in: Mazowieckie, Lubelskie and Podlaskie; French in: Warmińsko-Mazurskie, Zachodniopomorskie and Pomorskia; and Russian in: Opolskie, Dolnośląskie and Lubuskie.
The above situation can be presented graphically as follows (source: CODN):
The representatives of national and ethnic minorities as well as communities using regional language are obliged to learn Polish language just like other Polish citizens are. Moreover – upon a voluntary request – they may also participate in activities aiming to maintain their sense of language and cultural minority. Minority (national and ethnic) language teaching as well as teaching of the regional –Kashubian language is organized in schools upon a request of parents (or students, provided that they are 16 years old).
A minority language may become a language of instruction and may also be a second language of instruction (in bilingual education) or a non-compulsory subject. A class (inter-class group) may be established already for 7 pupils interested in learning this language. In case of dispersed minorities minority language teaching may be organized in inter-school groups (for a group not smaller than 3 and not bigger than 20 persons).
Once a pupil chooses to learn a minority language it becomes a compulsory subject for this pupil. The final mark for this subject is included in the school certificate and is also taken into account in the calculation of the average mark.
A pupil learning a minority or regional language may choose this language as an additional subject for the oral or written part (or both parts) of Matura exam.
Moreover, graduates of schools or departments (oddziały), in which a minority language is a language of instruction, may take Matura exam in Polish or in minority language (except for the exam of Polish language and literature and the parts of the exam concerning the history and geography of Poland).
The maps below illustrate the regional spread of teaching of languages of national and ethnic minorities as well as the regional language: