French most popular
Nearly 29,00 Leaving Cert students sat a higher level language exam this year. A further 12,000 students sat an ordinary level language exam.
French remains the most popular foreign language. Spanish has grown as about 700 more students sat the Spanish exam this year compared to last year, and as more qualified Spanish teachers come on stream this figure may keep rising. German remains the second most popular language.
As a third language (i.e. not English or Irish) is required to access some third level courses, foreign languages should maintain their popularity. Some schools require their Leaving Cert students take a language. Even schools which give a language as an option should stress the fact a lack of a language may impact future choices students have. For example, departments in NUI colleges that require students to have a language include Arts, Humanties, Law, Social Science, Commerce, Medicine and Health Sciences and some other degrees. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the University of Limerick require students to have one language, either Irish or a modern language.
Higher level Leaving Cert results show languages produce good grades
Leaving Cert results 2019 show that foreign languages perform well in producing good grades. Of all the subjects Russian produces the highest level of not just H1s (nearly 60% of the candidates achieved a H1) but also overall best grades on average. Many Russian candidates are heritage language speakers, and are exposed to the language at home. Spoken language is not enough, however, as candidates need to master written Russian too. Students who are heritage language speakers need to work hard at written Russian, making their H1 a great achievement.
The results illustrate that keeping up one’s heritage language can really pay off and students should be encouraged to do so.Post-Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) offers free 2-year Russian Saturday Leaving Cert classes in Dublin, Galway and Limerick. Most go on to sit the Russian exam, and many do very well. PPLI also offers TY Russian in a number of schools across Ireland.
Italian and Japanese also produce H1s and good grades on average. As lesser taught languages the students who take these languages are probably specifically dedicated to the language. The number of Japanese and Italian candidates was the third and fourth lowest of all subjects, yet Japanese candidates achieved the 5th highest and the Italian candidates the 2nd highest percentage of H1s of all the subjects.
PPLI offers Japanese Leaving Cert Saturday classes in Dublin and Cork, and Japanese as a TY or LC subject in a number of schools around the country. JC Japanese has also been introduced in a small number of schools.
CAO Available places : CareersPortal new search facility to find which courses come with language options
For students who did not get an offer, the CAO available places facility will be updated with courses not yet filled and for which you can apply if you are already in the CAO system for this year. (Click here for more)
Some students are still making decisions about the path they want to take. Languages go with any career, and enhance a CV.
There are many courses which offer the inclusion of a foreign language to complement the course. As a reminder, CareersPortal Course Finder now has a new search facility which will find a course with a language to go with it.
To search for courses which offer a language option, scroll down to ‘With foreign languages’ on the left hand side of the page and tick the languages you are interested in here.
Videos: See what the industry experts say about careers and languages here.