Call 2016-19

The call for submissions is now closed.
The call for submissions is now closed.

Quality education and languages at the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe values and promotes quality language education. On an operational level it supports Europe‘s rich linguistic and cultural diversity specifically via the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Language Policy Unit (LPU) and the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

A minority language will only survive if it is used everywhere and not just at home. The Charter, therefore, obliges those states who have ratified the Charter to actively promote the use of these languages in all domains of public life: education, courts, administration, media, culture, economic and social life, and trans-frontier cooperation. The Council of Europe monitors that the Charter is applied in practice.

The Language Policy Unit

For over 50 years The Language Policy Unit (Strasbourg), formerly the Language Policy Division, has implemented intergovernmental programmes to support policy development in areas such as foreign languages and languages of schooling in a holistic approach to plurilingual and intercultural education, and the linguistic integration of adult migrants.

Foreign Languages

Amongst the major policy planning instruments developed by the Language Policy Unit (LPU) are the Common European Framework of Reference of Languages (CEFR) and the European Language Portfolio (ELP). These and other instruments of the Unit are driving forces of major developments in language education in Europe and provide key references for ECML work.

The CEFR, produced by the LPU in 2001, remains the most widely-used document. To meet the request of Member States and professional networks, the LPU will publish a series of descriptors of language skills to complement those already available in the CEFR, especially for levels A and C, for the activity of mediation, for written interaction and for younger learners. Moreover, work is also underway on a new text expanding the conceptual framework of the CEFR to take into account developments since its original publication 2001. These publications will be available in 2015.

Language/s of schooling

The Language Policy Unit devotes much of its resources to the development of the project on languages of schooling in support of the wider Council of Europe objective of democratic citizenship. A new handbook on subject literacies for education and curriculum policy-makers and for teacher trainers will be available in 2015.

Plurilingual and intercultural education

Our society is increasingly characterised by linguistic and cultural diversity. Educational systems need to take account of this reality and guarantee the right of all students to benefit fully from equitable, quality education. In 2015, after three years of piloting, the LPU will publish a guide to the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education. It will include detailed curricular plans for the implementation of a truly global language education policy at national and/or regional level, as well as at school-level, as well as guidelines for teacher trainers. This Guide develops further the 2007 Guide for the development of language Policies in Europe with both guides acting as useful reference tools for language education policy reviews proposed by the LPU to the Council of Europe member states.

Linguistic integration of adult migrants (LIAM)

Responsibility for adult migrants, in terms of policy development, linguistic integration and language testing, often lies with different ministries, making access to resources difficult. The Language Policy Unit plays a leading role in terms of providing practical support to its member states, particularly through its dedicated LIAM website where a wide range of practical resources can be found, including tools to assess the language skills of migrants.

Quality education and languages at the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe values and promotes quality language education. On an operational level it supports Europe‘s rich linguistic and cultural diversity specifically via the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Language Policy Unit (LPU) and the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

A minority language will only survive if it is used everywhere and not just at home. The Charter, therefore, obliges those states who have ratified the Charter to actively promote the use of these languages in all domains of public life: education, courts, administration, media, culture, economic and social life, and trans-frontier cooperation. The Council of Europe monitors that the Charter is applied in practice.

The Language Policy Unit

For over 50 years The Language Policy Unit (Strasbourg), formerly the Language Policy Division, has implemented intergovernmental programmes to support policy development in areas such as foreign languages and languages of schooling in a holistic approach to plurilingual and intercultural education, and the linguistic integration of adult migrants.

Foreign Languages

Amongst the major policy planning instruments developed by the Language Policy Unit (LPU) are the Common European Framework of Reference of Languages (CEFR) and the European Language Portfolio (ELP). These and other instruments of the Unit are driving forces of major developments in language education in Europe and provide key references for ECML work.

The CEFR, produced by the LPU in 2001, remains the most widely-used document. To meet the request of Member States and professional networks, the LPU will publish a series of descriptors of language skills to complement those already available in the CEFR, especially for levels A and C, for the activity of mediation, for written interaction and for younger learners. Moreover, work is also underway on a new text expanding the conceptual framework of the CEFR to take into account developments since its original publication 2001. These publications will be available in 2015.

Language/s of schooling

The Language Policy Unit devotes much of its resources to the development of the project on languages of schooling in support of the wider Council of Europe objective of democratic citizenship. A new handbook on subject literacies for education and curriculum policy-makers and for teacher trainers will be available in 2015.

Plurilingual and intercultural education

Our society is increasingly characterised by linguistic and cultural diversity. Educational systems need to take account of this reality and guarantee the right of all students to benefit fully from equitable, quality education. In 2015, after three years of piloting, the LPU will publish a guide to the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education. It will include detailed curricular plans for the implementation of a truly global language education policy at national and/or regional level, as well as at school-level, as well as guidelines for teacher trainers. This Guide develops further the 2007 Guide for the development of language Policies in Europe with both guides acting as useful reference tools for language education policy reviews proposed by the LPU to the Council of Europe member states.

Linguistic integration of adult migrants (LIAM)

Responsibility for adult migrants, in terms of policy development, linguistic integration and language testing, often lies with different ministries, making access to resources difficult. The Language Policy Unit plays a leading role in terms of providing practical support to its member states, particularly through its dedicated LIAM website where a wide range of practical resources can be found, including tools to assess the language skills of migrants.

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Looking for a team member?
Please check our expert database and our message board.

For questions please contact us at 

Presentation on the Call
Please check our PowerPoint presentation here.