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EU Language Policy


Languages 2010

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The contribution of languages to the Lisbon Strategy

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In 2000, the EU was set the goal of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by 2010. This included the achievement of greater social cohesion while also being capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs. The plan to achieve this goal is known as the Lisbon Strategy.

Education policy has a central part to play, and language learning is crucial in this respect.

EU education ministers have highlighted three major goals to be achieved by 2010 to support the Lisbon Strategy:

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  1. improving the quality and effectiveness of EU education and training systems
  2. ensuring that education is accessible to all
  3. opening up education and training to the wider world

These fundamental goals and specific steps for achieving them are contained in “Education and Training 2010” - the education and training contribution to the Lisbon Strategy.

 

Ambitious aims for 2010

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Education and Training 2010 covers a lot of ground. It sets out the shared ambitions for 2010, including the incorporation of diversity and co-operation into the overall goals. It specifies how these goals will be achieved - through the open method of co-ordination, whereby Member States agree to co-operate and be measured against common benchmarks.

Finally, the plan sets out 13 specific objectives:

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  1. improving education and training for teachers and trainers
  2. developing skills for the knowledge society
  3. ensuring access to ICT for everyone
  4. increasing recruitment to scientific and technical studies
  5. making the best use of resources
  6. creating an open learning environment
  7. making learning more attractive
  8. supporting active citizenship, equal opportunities and social cohesion
  9. strengthening the links with work and research and society at large
  10. developing the spirit of enterprise
  11. improving foreign language learning
  12. increasing mobility and exchange
  13. strengthening European co-operation
 

The language learning objective is framed as a contribution to the aim of opening up education and training to the wider world. The EU’s guiding principle is that every person should be able to speak two foreign languages in addition to their mother tongue.

Education and Training 2010 sets out benchmarks for assessing the progress of Member States and also prioritises three areas that will benefit from the exchange of experience:

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  1. methods and ways of organising the teaching of languages
  2. early language learning
  3. ways of promoting the learning and practice of foreign languages