As for the education, I remember doing basically grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing. Listening and speaking was almost absent, and in any case none of our teachers were native speakers. You can see now why a lot of people have a much higher command in reading and writing than in listening and speaking. But other factors count as well. If you are from a country with a language spoken by millions and millions, there's some lazyness towards learning that of others (english speaking people are the perfect example here), so movies get dubbed, absolutely everything is translated and in general there's some stupid sense of proudness and resistance to anything foreign. That certain nationalist movements across europe are, as of 2010, pushing in this same direction, is astonishing (but I'll stop with politics here : ).