This initiative aimed at offering concrete support to member states wishing to reflect upon their language education policy and to create conditions for plurilingual and intercultural education.

This expertise was proposed in the context of the Language Policy Programme to national or regional authorities and to towns with a view to focusing on possible future policy developments in a prospective perspective. All languages in education are considered in a Profile: languages of schooling, foreign languages and minority languages.

Developing a process is not an audit but an opportunity but the opportunity to undertake a self-evaluation of policies in a spirit of dialogue between authorities, members of civil society and Council of Europe experts who act as catalysts in the process.

Three main steps in the development of a “Profile”:

  • A descriptive Report prepared by authorities (Country or Regional Report)
  • Visits and exchanges during a week between the Council of Europe expert group and the main actors in language policy
  • An analytical and forward-looking report (constituting the actual ‘Profile’), drafted by the Expert group in close co-operation with authorities, preceded or followed by a public event (round table, seminar, …)

Detailed Guidelines supported the process which ranged from 18 months to 3 years.

The “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment” (CEFR) and its related tools featured of course among the resources provided by the Language Policy Programme. In addition, a Guide was specially devised for the ‘Profile’ process, attempting to identify the challenges and possible responses in the light of common principles:

 From linguistic diversity to plurilingual education: Guide for the development of language education policies in Europe 

This Guide does not promote any particular language education policy; it exists in 2 versions and is accompanied by a series of 21 Reference Studies on key policy issues.  A leaflet describes the relationship between the “Profiles” and the “Guide” (with a summary of its three parts).

18 Language Education Profiles have been completed between 2002 and 2017: the Country or Regional Reports as well as the Profiles are all available online.

This offer of assistance ended in 2017: the 18 completed “Profiles” address a wide range of situations and challenges. Interested countries or regions may wish to draw on the “Profiles” available to date to reflect upon their own language policy as some issues may be similar.

A Transversal analysis of Language Education Policy Profiles was produced in 2009 to examine trends and issues across the first series of Profiles; this analysis may also be helpful for authorities.

Authorities may also avail of the manifold resources made available by the Language Policy Programme across its various websites.