The Council of Europe has actively promoted language education since the 1960s in order to advance communication and intercultural understanding, protect cultural heritage and diversity and fight intolerance and xenophobia.
The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML)
In 1994, eight countries – Austria, France, Greece, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland – particularly interested in the subject of language education founded the European Centre for Modern Languages ECML within the framework of an Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe. The ECML is based in Graz/Austria and counts more than 30 member states today.
In its Resolutions (94)10 and (98) 11, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has stated the ECML’s mission as follows:
- provide training of teacher trainers, authors of textbooks and experts in the area of the development of curricula, educational standards and methods of evaluation
- bring together researchers and policy makers from all over Europe
- facilitate exchange of information, innovation and research for the learning and teaching of modern languages
- assist member states with the implementation of language policies
Programme and expertise
The ECML initiates and coordinates 4-year programmes focusing on key educational issues requiring action. Each programme is determined by the ECML’s member states and reflects national priorities in language education. The programme provides the framework for innovative projects and activities in the Centre’s areas of expertise, which are:
- Language education for migrants
- Signed languages
- Plurilingual education
- New media in language education
- Mobility and intercultural learning
- Evaluation and assessment
- Languages and employment
- Early language learning
- Language integrated learning
The ECML provides consultancy to the policy makers in its member states, assisting them in bringing language education policies and practices together. It has set up a contact point in each of its member states and serves as Europe’s largest platform for all those involved in language education, i.e. ministry representatives, researchers, inspectors, education administrators, teachers, teacher trainers, parents and community workers.
The Centre organises conferences, seminars and workshops, offers training models for teacher educators, issues publications, training kits, guidelines and examples of good practice and runs a documentation centre which provides specialists and multipliers with a wide range of teaching aids and results of research.
The ECML works closely with both the Council of Europe’s Language Policy Unit and the Secretariat of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe. In addition, it is part of the Professional Network Forum on Language Education, whose member associations and institutions have committed themselves to working together under the auspices of the ECML.
Photos & Video © Council of Europe/ECML