The emphasis from an early stage in Council of Europe projects on successful communication skills, motivated by increasing opportunities for interaction and mobility in Europe, remains important, but globalisation and internationalisation pose new challenges to social cohesion and integration. Language skills remain essential if individuals are to benefit from opportunities in employment and mobility but they are also necessary to participate actively in the social and political processes which are an integral part of democratic citizenship in the multilingual societies of Council of Europe member states.
- 'Multilingualism' refers to the presence in a geographical area, large or small, of more than one 'variety of language' i.e. the mode of speaking of a social group whether it is formally recognised as a language or not; in such an area individuals may be monolingual, speaking only their own variety.
- 'Plurilingualism' refers to the repertoire of varieties of language which many individuals use, and is therefore the opposite of monolingualism; it includes the language variety referred to as 'mother tongue' or 'first language' and any number of other languages or varieties. Thus in some multilingual areas some individuals are monolingual and some are plurilingual. More...
The maintenance and development of linguistic and cultural diversity is a Council of Europe aim, enshrined in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on Minority languages in a typically cautious fashion. There has been some backlash recently against societal multiculturalism as divisive, reinforcing separatism and blocking the integration of immigrants and encouraging ghetto formation. Here the concepts of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism are of real value, since they take a holistic view of linguistic and cultural competence, to which all linguistic and cultural experience contribute.
Both at individual and societal levels the concept is dynamic, since the components from the experience of different language and cultures interpenetrate and interact, forming something new, enriched and in continual development. This approach meets better the realities of globalisation than various forms of purism which regard each language and culture as a separate entity, to be preserved and protected against the threat offered by alien forces.
The Council of Europe’s activities to promote linguistic diversity and language learning in the field of education are carried out within the framework of article 2 of the European Cultural Convention, which commits the states party to the Convention to promote the reciprocal teaching and learning of their languages. More...
Summary Progress Reports to the Steering Committee for Education (CDED) at its annual Plenary Meetings. Since 2012 the CDPPE replaces the CDED
Mission of the European Centre for Modern Languages, Graz www.ecml.at
According to Article 1 of its statute, “the Centre has as its mission the implementation of language policies and the promotion of innovative approaches to the learning and teaching of modern languages” (Appendix to Resolution (98) 11)
To respond to this mission the ECML organises international language education projects primarily targeting teacher trainers, researchers and key multipliers in the field. These essentially aim to raise awareness on critical issues, provide training to language education practitioners and facilitate networks of specialists. More...
Mission of the Language Policy Unit
Principles and policy
The Unit is responsible for designing and implementing initiatives for the development and analysis of language education policies aimed at promoting linguistic diversity and plurilingualism.
Brief history (1957 – 2001)
The Unit is particularly well known for its work in developing tools and standards to help member states elaborate transparent and coherent language policies. These instruments, which are disseminated and used not only throughout Europe but all over the world, have become a vital contribution to the establishment of a European education area for modern languages and serve as benchmarks for other bodies and institutions, such as the European Union.
Overview of initiatives (Leaflet)
The Unit’s programmes cover all languages - mother tongue/first language/language(s) of education as well as foreign, second or minority languages - and address the needs of all of the 49 states that have ratified the European Cultural Convention.
The initiatives implemented in Strasbourg also provide a forum for debate on policy development. More...
Intergovernmental co-operation programmes have been carried out by the Language Policy Unit (formerly Division) in Strasbourg since 1957, and by the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz, Austria, since it was established by a Partial Agreement in 1994. More...
From linguistic diversity to plurilingual education: Guide for the development of language education policies in Europe
The aim of the Guide is to offer an analytical instrument which can serve as a reference document for the formulation or reorganisation of language teaching in member states.
Its purpose is to provide a response to the need to formulate language policies to promote plurilingualism and diversification in a planned manner so that decisions are coherently linked. Accordingly, the Guide does not promote any particular language education policy but attempts to identify the challenges and possible responses in the light of common principles. More...
This project aims to help member states to develop inclusive language policies based on Council of Europe shared values: respect for human rights and the dignity of the person, democracy and the rule of law. Effective respect for these fundamental principles requires a coordinated and principled approach to language policy which cuts across different domains of integration policy (social, employment, health...), and an awareness of the mutual rights and responsibilities of migrants and societies. The Council of Europe has elaborated standard setting instruments and recommendations which set out the principles governing actions in the migration field. These are complemented by language policy guidelines and reference tools developed to support their effective implementation in an inclusive approach based on shared values and principles. More...
La présente communication fait suite au Conseil européen de Barcelone de mars 2002, qui avait demandé la mise au point d'un indicateur des compétences linguistiques. L'objectif final est de fournir aux États membres des informations et comparaisons sur la base desquels ils pourront procéder aux ajustements nécessaires à leur politique d'enseignement et d'apprentissage des langues étrangères. La présente communication propose des paramètres et des modalités de gestion pour mettre en œuvre l'indicateur.
Langues et formats disponibles
The integration and education of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds are among the most urgent challenges facing many member states of the Council of Europe from the point of view of social cohesion and inclusion. As stressed in the Council of Europe’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue, integration is a two-way process.
The project conducted by the Language Policy Unit on “Languages in education / Languages for education” considers these challenges to be cross-disciplinary. In order to meet them effectively, all the curricula and the varieties of linguistic and communicative competences that learners are expected to acquire in these curricula must be taken into account. More...