[lg policy] “Education and public services must go multilingual =?windows-1252?Q?=94_?=recommends EU Platform

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 29 14:32:30 UTC 2011

“Education and public services must go multilingual” recommends EU Platform
Posted on August 26, 2011 by Eilidh MacDonald

Following on from a previous post on the Language Rich Europe blog in
May, the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism (CSPM) has now
published its policy recommendations to the European Commission,
member states and regional authorities with this advice:

    Education and public services must go multilingual to boost
Europe’s language skills, sustain Europe’s economies and cater for
increasingly diverse societies

According to the CSPM there are still unacceptable gaps in support for
multilingualism and language learning throughout the EU and even where
good policies exist, implementation is often inadequate. To help
combat this, the platform recommends strategies including making
plurilingual education (“mother tongue” plus 2 other languages) the
norm; strengthening learning support for immigrants; and improving
language skills of public services across Europe.

Uwe Mohr, Chairperson of the Civil Society Platform on
Multilingualism, explains:

    only as multilinguals can we fully enjoy the benefits of our
culturally and linguistically diverse Europe and live a richer, more
interesting and more successful life in the Europe of the future.

Multilingualism is seen as crucial to the preservation and
accessibility of the common European cultural heritage and the CSPM
identifies translation as playing an important role in this. The
platform therefore also recommends that the working conditions of
translators be substantially improved, with sound degree programmes
and opportunities for mobility.

The CSPM, chaired by EUNIC Brussels, was set up in 2009 by the
European Commission to promote multilingualism in Europe in the areas
of culture, media and non-formal education. It consists of 29 selected
member organisations which are all committed to promoting
multilingualism and operating at a trans-national or European-wide
level. There are plans for the platform to continue its work beyond
this project. As Mohr states:

    Europe needs to develop a language policy that monitors language
use and ensures that languages are treated equally. We also highly
recommend that the Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism be
continued on a permanent basis to act as an instrument of dialogue
between the EU policy level on the one side and the national,
regional, and local language policy levels and social reality on the
other side.

Nine members of the CSPM have committed to setting up an on-line
Language Observatory to advise policymakers in designing and
implementing successful policies for multilingualism. As part of the
European Commission funded project Poliglotti4.eu, the observatory
will launch in the autumn and will conduct research and capture and
disseminate good practice.


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