Study foreign languages, urges Murphy
Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy has urged Leaving Cert students to give "serious consideration" to studying foreign languages in college.
The minister described the ability to communicate and do business in a foreign language as "a huge asset in a globalised world" and said it opened up a wealth of employment opportunities.
Irish college students are almost the worst in Europe when it comes to speaking foreign languages, according to a study in 2011.
In most European countries, some 20pc of third-level students claim to be proficient in at least two foreign languages.
But in Ireland, the figure is a lowly 5pc - second last behind Turkey - with just 2pc claiming to speak two foreign languages, according to a Eurostudent report on the Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Europe.
Speaking in advance of yesterday's deadline for CAO applications, the minister described competence in certain foreign languages as being "essential" for students interested in pursuing careers in European Union institutions and international organisations.
And he urged students mulling over their third-level options to consider the "exciting opportunities" they will be able to experience through language studies.