Latest studies on Language Teaching and Learning in the EU shows the current lack of attention towards multilingualism


At the end of October 2016, the European Parliament Policy Department B issued two studies and one in-depth analysis on the implementation of the European Strategy on Multilingualism (ESM). The strategy was introduced by the European Commission and supported by the Council of the European Union in 2008 in order to meet the ambitious goal of the “Barcelona objective” enabling EU citizens to communicate in two other languages than their mother tongue and to promote a linguistic diversity across Europe. Measures adopted by the Commission included collecting data on foreign language competences of students and adults; raising awareness of the benefits of language learning in society and economy; and financial support to language learning through the Lifelong Learning Programme and the European Social Fund.

The study highlights the significant role of lifelong language learning as one of the means of ESM, as well as the importance of teaching and learning of more than one foreign language. The main findings of the study provide that after 2014, multilingualism ceased being one of the priorities of the EU institutions and despite all the previous efforts by the Commission and the European Centre for Modern Languages, there still remains a large percentage of EU citizens who do not have sufficient language skills which is likely to have an impact on both their professional and personal opportunities. Major recommendations of the paper include making language learning more accessible; making greater use of European tools and initiatives to support good quality in language teaching; paying closer attention to the consistency between ESM and other EU policies that may have impact on linguistic diversity, in particular, in higher education; and introducing more systematic impact studies for ESM.

Multilingualism and lifelong language learning are important pre-conditions for strong social cohesion, successful integration of migrants, and peaceful intercultural dialogue. ETUCE repeatedly stressed the necessity of allocating appropriate investment to improve language skills of the European citizens of any age, which has to go hand in hand with the professional development of language teachers.

To read studies on European Strategy on Multilingualism, click here and here.

To read the in-depth analysis on Language Teaching and Learning within EU Member States, click here.