Call 2016-19

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

The wider policy context

The Council of Europe

“At the heart of quality education for all”: there is clear consensus that significant action is required if we are to realise this worthy vision. This consensus is reflected in two Recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the first on ensuring quality education and the second on the role of language(s) of schooling for ensuring equity and quality in education.

In the accompanying explanatory memorandum, the notion of quality is linked to the purposes of education: preparation for employment; preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies; personal development; or the development and maintenance of a broad and advanced knowledge base. The recommendation considers that ensuring quality education is a public responsibility which needs to be adapted to the level of education and age of students. It also emphasises that, at system level, social inclusion must be seen as an integral part of the notion of quality. Particular reference is made to the role of gender in education.

The accompanying explanatory memorandum indicates that educational failure is partly determined by an inadequate command of a wide range of linguistic forms, as confirmed by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Mastery of the language(s) of schooling is one of the ways to achieve the goal set by the European Commission and by a wide range of national authorities of reducing the number of learners leaving the education system without qualifications. The measures to promote an adequate mastery of competences in the language of schooling on the part of all students are part of the action against educational failure, and thus an important contribution to the search for equity and quality in education.

The need for action is further evidenced by a recent Council of Europe report on the “State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe” (2014) which highlights the current lack of investment in democratic culture and education in European countries and warns that the political prioritisation on “education for employability” needs to be balanced with sustainable education for democratic citizenship. This is particularly important in the current political context with intolerance and xenophobia on the rise. The recommendations and policy orientations put forward in the 2008 Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living together as equals in dignity” , wherein the key role of languages and language education in the context of democratic citizenship and intercultural dialogue is explicit, are particularly relevant today and are reflected in the proposed priorities for the 2016-17 work programme of the Directorate General of Democracy of the Council of Europe: participation, diversity, democratic innovation and human dignity.

The European Union

Like the Council of Europe, the European Union values, supports and promotes language learning and linguistic diversity and recognises the key role of languages in the integration of migrants and in the fostering of intercultural dialogue and social cohesion. In view of the disappointing results of the European Survey on Language Competences (2012), it is not surprising that the latest “Council conclusions on multilingualism and the development of language competences” (May 2014) stress the need to enhance the quality and efficiency of language education as well as make better use of the CEFR for assessing language competences. Moreover these conclusions also stress the need to improve support measures for learners with a migrant background.

The wider policy context

The Council of Europe

“At the heart of quality education for all”: there is clear consensus that significant action is required if we are to realise this worthy vision. This consensus is reflected in two Recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the first on ensuring quality education and the second on the role of language(s) of schooling for ensuring equity and quality in education.

In the accompanying explanatory memorandum, the notion of quality is linked to the purposes of education: preparation for employment; preparation for life as active citizens in democratic societies; personal development; or the development and maintenance of a broad and advanced knowledge base. The recommendation considers that ensuring quality education is a public responsibility which needs to be adapted to the level of education and age of students. It also emphasises that, at system level, social inclusion must be seen as an integral part of the notion of quality. Particular reference is made to the role of gender in education.

The accompanying explanatory memorandum indicates that educational failure is partly determined by an inadequate command of a wide range of linguistic forms, as confirmed by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Mastery of the language(s) of schooling is one of the ways to achieve the goal set by the European Commission and by a wide range of national authorities of reducing the number of learners leaving the education system without qualifications. The measures to promote an adequate mastery of competences in the language of schooling on the part of all students are part of the action against educational failure, and thus an important contribution to the search for equity and quality in education.

The need for action is further evidenced by a recent Council of Europe report on the “State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe” (2014) which highlights the current lack of investment in democratic culture and education in European countries and warns that the political prioritisation on “education for employability” needs to be balanced with sustainable education for democratic citizenship. This is particularly important in the current political context with intolerance and xenophobia on the rise. The recommendations and policy orientations put forward in the 2008 Council of Europe White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue “Living together as equals in dignity” , wherein the key role of languages and language education in the context of democratic citizenship and intercultural dialogue is explicit, are particularly relevant today and are reflected in the proposed priorities for the 2016-17 work programme of the Directorate General of Democracy of the Council of Europe: participation, diversity, democratic innovation and human dignity.

The European Union

Like the Council of Europe, the European Union values, supports and promotes language learning and linguistic diversity and recognises the key role of languages in the integration of migrants and in the fostering of intercultural dialogue and social cohesion. In view of the disappointing results of the European Survey on Language Competences (2012), it is not surprising that the latest “Council conclusions on multilingualism and the development of language competences” (May 2014) stress the need to enhance the quality and efficiency of language education as well as make better use of the CEFR for assessing language competences. Moreover these conclusions also stress the need to improve support measures for learners with a migrant background.

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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.