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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

Council Recommendation on improving the teaching and learning of languages

Language competences are at the heart of the ambitious vision to create a European Education Area. Being able to speak foreign languages is not only a competence needed for studying abroad and on increasingly international job markets. It also opens new perspectives and enables people to discover other cultures. Studies show that across the board, EU Member States are not making progress fast enough towards the EU-wide agreed goal that every European should be able to learn two foreign languages from an early age. In fact language proficiency levels among students at the end of compulsory education are generally low, and very large differences exist between Member States. With increasing intra-European mobility as well as unprecedented levels of school children arriving from third countries speaking different languages, we need to reconsider the challenges and opportunities we are faced with, in order to make multilingualism a true asset of the EU. 

The proposed recommendation aims to:

  • boost language learning by focusing on reaching specific competence levels, based on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, by the end of compulsory education; 
  • introduce the concept of language awareness in education and training, which provides an inclusive framework for language learning, taking account of the variety of learners' language competences; 
  • ensure that more language teachers benefit from opportunities to learn and study abroad; 
  • identify and promote innovative, inclusive and multilingual pedagogies, using European tools and platforms such as the School Education Gateway and eTwinning.