Language Policy Unit - Homepage

Education and Languages, Language Policy

The Council of Europe’s activities to promote linguistic diversity and language learning in the field of education are carried out within the framework of the European Cultural Convention, (1954) ratified by 49 states.

The Language Policy Unit (Strasbourg) implements intergovernmental medium-term programmes with a strong emphasis on activities and tools to support policy development. The Unit’s programmes are complemented by those of the European Centre for Modern Languages (Partial Agreement [ECML] - Graz, Austria) and of the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. >> More

The Council of Europe's Education Department (Language Policy) has learned with deep regret of the sudden death of Professor Sauli Takala. He made a major contribution to the promotion of the values and principles of the Council through his unstinting dedication and commitment over many years to improving quality and equity in language education at all levels.

Sauli played a central role in initiatives to support best practice in the implementation the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and was working on the development of further essential illustrative material at the time of his death.

Sauli was held in the highest esteem by colleagues throughout Europe and beyond, in particular for his unique expertise in the field of language testing and assessment. His generosity of spirit, his warmth and humility will be remembered alongside his pioneering work by all who knew him, not least those who had the immense privilege of collaborating with him in the language policy programme of the Council of Europe.
EALTA set up a page  for those who wish to post tributes and share memories of Sauli Takala


  FORMAL CONSULTATION on a new extended version of the illustrative descriptors of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Participation until 15 February 2017 
Version française

   Two new publications

  A Handbook for Curriculum Development and Teacher Training. The Language Dimension in All Subjects. 2016. Jean-Claude Beacco, Mike Fleming, Francis Goullier, Eike Thürmann, Helmut Vollmer, with contributions by Joseph Sheils. ISBN 978-92-871-8231-9.
    Guide for the Development and Implementation of Curricula for   Plurilingual and Intercultural Education. 2016. Jean-Claude Beacco, Michael Byram, Marisa Cavalli, Daniel Coste, Mirjam Egli Cuenat, Francis Goullier, Johanna Panthier. ISBN 978-92-871-8234-0

Factsheets on education: Tackling today’s challenges together

  Failure at school  Linguistic integration of adult migrants

Symposium on The linguistic integration of adult migrants: lessons from research, Strasbourg, 30 March – 1 April 2016.  LIAM Project: .
Book of Abstracts (including an introduction on the context and aims)

Report of the Conference
Intergovernmental conference on “The language dimension in all subjects: equity and quality in education". Strasbourg, 14-15 October 2015.  Programme including presentations and related Conference documents

Review of the Language Policy Unit's work over the past six decades: Languages for democracy and social cohesion. Diversity, equity and quality. Sixty years of European co-operation. Published at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Cultural Convention, December 2014

Former News


Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants - Guide to policy development and implementation

The linguistic integration of adult migrants: from one country to another, from one language to another, 2014. ISBN 978-92-871-7871-8

Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education accompanied by two Satellite Studies

Report of the Intergovernmental Forum on The right of learners to quality and equity in education – the role of language and intercultural skills", 2011 - Geneva, November 2010

Putting the Evidence Back into Evidence-based Policies for Underachieving Students, 2011, Jim Cummins, The University of Toronto

Manual for Language test development and examining for use with the CEFR produced by ALTE (2011) on behalf of the Language Policy Unit (also available in German)

Concept Paper: The linguistic and educational integration of children and adolescents from migrant backgrounds



Platform of resources and references for plurilingual and intercultural education

Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants

European Language Portfolio

Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters

European Day of Languages


The CEFR is a key instrument for establishing a European educational space in the field of modern languages. Its main aim is to facilitate transparency and comparability in the provision of language education and qualifications. It is available in nearly 40 language versions. More

  in connection with the CEFR:


At the request of national or regional authorities, the Council of Europe provides expert assistance with the development of a Profile – a process of analysis and reflection leading to proposals to support a global and coherent approach to language learning and teaching, and involving all languages in education. More


This project deals with the language(s) of instruction in school which is most often the national or official language(s) and also the mother tongue of the majority of students. Within the wider concept of plurilingualism and respect for linguistic diversity, the project also addresses issues relating to the development of the plurilingual repertoire of learners.


Aimed at policy deciders, the Guide describes how language education policies can promote a global and coherent approach to plurilingual education. The Guide is accompanied by a series of thematic studies.


Aimed primarily at persons in charge of curricula, this Guide addresses all those involved in teaching. It offers practical approaches in curriculum development, illustrated with scenarios, in order to implement plurilingual and intercultural education. It is accompanied by two satellite studies.