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ADOLESCENTS from 15 European countries were asked whether they could speak a foreign language, and if they would like to study another.

So which nation came out last by a long way on both questions? I blush to report the answer. But a report on 16 "quality of school education indicators" from the European Commission illustrates the UK's ignominy (see Indicator 5, "Foreign Languages").

However, the report, in general, certainly doesn't portray the UK as the dunce of Europe. Our 13-year-olds' science results, for example, are well above te European average.

The full report can be retrieved as a PDF file from the website of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) at:

EERA is currently holding its annual conference in Edinburgh (September 20-23) and delegates will be speaking...English. Abstracts of all the presentations are available from:

Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at

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