24 Jan 2018

German businesses in Slovakia struggle to find fluent speakers

Because fewer children have been studying German in Slovak schools, German businesses say they are struggling to find employees who speak the language.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
German businesses in Slovakia struggle to find fluent speakers - NewsMavens
Smart classroom of Sp International Public School. By Guestrura (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

Germany and Austria are the two countries that invest most in the Slovak business sector. 

Today, managers of these businesses are beginning to complain about the lack of German-speaking people in Slovakia available to work for their companies. They suggest that the study of the German language is not more encouraged, they may have to consider moving to another country.

However, the number of the German-speaking people is decreasing in (almost) every European country. Where will Germany and Austria move their businesses? Perhaps it would be easier to invest in switching to English than relocating.


What is the story, exactly?

  • In 2011 there were 123,000 students studing German in Slovakia. That year, the ministry of education made English mandatory from the third year of elementary school (8-year-olds). 
  • By 2017, the number of Slovak students learning German dropped to 88,000. English became the first foreign language for almost all children.
  • The second foreign language in Slovakia is usually added in the seventh grade (12-year-olds).
  • Numbers of students learning German are decreasing in the most EU countries. The drop is the most significant in Netherlands, Poland, Denmark and Finland.
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