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Putting language education on the political agenda – a new Council of Europe Recommendation on the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture

Author: Catherine Seewald/04 February 2022/Categories: Show on front page, Council of Europe

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At a meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies on 2 February 2022, the new Recommendation to member states on the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture was adopted.

This recommendation addresses two developments of concern to the Council of Europe: a tendency on the part of public authorities and civil society to think that proficiency in one additional language is enough; and the notion that proficiency in minority or migrant languages, widespread in today’s increasingly diverse societies, is harmful to societal cohesion.

To counter such developments, the Recommendation emphasises the cognitive, linguistic and social benefits of learning several languages, demonstrating the ways in which plurilingual and intercultural competences contribute to educational success, to societal integration and to understanding, assessing and formulating the arguments and opinions that are essential to democracy.

It sets out a holistic vision for language education, one which places language at the heart of all learning and which embraces all languages, and all educational sectors and players. Through its Explanatory Memorandum it guides member states towards the realisation of this vision by highlighting the range of rich resources developed by the Language Policy Programme and the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML).

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