Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


MULTI-LINGUALISM: A NEW FRAMEWORK STRATEGY (14908/05)

Letter from the Chairman to Bill Rammell MP, Minister for Life-long Learning, Further and Higher Education, Department for Education and Skills

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum dated 20 December 2005 which was considered by Sub-Committee G (Social Policy and Consumer Affairs) on 2 February.

  We support the creation of the High Level Group on Multilingualism as long as it acts only as an advisory body to the Commission. We agree that further clarification of the role and scope of this group of experts should be sought.

  We are grateful to you for the detailed information on the national policies that the Government is pursuing in the areas on which the Communication makes recommendations. We read with interest the policies you are developing for language teacher training, language learning for all 7-11 year olds and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). But we hope that the framework, and the national policies related to it, will also pay adequate attention to the needs of older learners.

  Moreover, we would remind you that our April 2004 report on the Proposed EU Integrated Action Programme for Life-long Learning (HL Paper 104-I) recommended that the Government should carry out an urgent reappraisal of language-teaching policy across the board. The Eurobarometer survey mentioned in the Communication shows that the Government cannot afford to be complacent about promoting language teaching when some 70 per cent of UK citizens still speak only English.

  While we are content to release the above document from scrutiny, we trust that Government will bear all these factors in mind when responding to this initiative.

2 February 2006



 
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