Language Policies and Legal Action to overcome Language Barriers in Education

Language Policies and Legal Action to overcome Language Barriers in education

Project Information

Description of the action
Eurydice statistics (Based on Eurostat) cover refugee children under immigrant children (see Report: Integrating Immigrant Children into Schools in Europe. Brussels 2004). The proportion of foreign nationals aged under 15 in the total population of those aged under 15 at 1 January 2001 is (some examples): BE (6,5 %), CZ (0,8 %), DK (5,8 %), DE (10,2 %), ES (2,1 %), FR (4,0 %), LU (39,3 %), HU (0,6 %), NL (4,2 %), AT (10,5 %), SI (1,1 %), FI (1,8 %), SE (5,2 %), UK (2,5 %), NO (3,5 %). The number of asylum applications per 1000 inhabitants (asylum ratio) of 2002 is (corresponding examples): BE (1,82), CZ (0,83), DK (1,11), DE (0,86), ES (0,16), FR (0,86), LU (2,35), HU (0,63), NL (1,16), AT (4,9), SI (0,33), FI (0,66), SE (3,71), UK (1,19), NO (3,28). Comparison of the two numbers show, that proportion of refugee children among immigrant children in AT, SE and NO are significantly and in BE, LU, UK and NL higher than on average.
Education should serve as a bridge to participation of non-EU member states long-term residents, including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the host society.  
Whether the outcome is successful will depend to a significant extent on instruction in schools and whether they succeed in acquiring the basic skills and competences. As children cannot be blamed for their language deficiency, host states have the responsibility for overcoming language barriers in and through education. An important barrier to overcome is the first language of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers that is nearly always not the language of instruction. Most of the time they do not have any knowledge of the language of instruction upon arrival in a EU Member State. Specific integration measures are provision of interpreters in schools, school-based support measures such as compensation for language needs (e.g. teaching the host country language of instruction; programs to introduce very young children to the language of instruction), school-based recognition of non-EU member states long-term residents’ culture (e.g. measures to support the language and culture of origin), etc…

Contact details of the coordinator:
Prof. Dr. Gracienne Lauwers
Universiteit Antwerpen
Arthur Goemaerelei 52
Phone: +32/3/238.44.23

Principle results:

  1. Project website containing the series of country reports
  2. Project booklet
  3. Country Reports
  4. Proceedings
  5. Press release
  6. Kick-off meeting with stakeholder organisations and setting up an European alliance follow-up group (Austria, 21-23/12/2011)
  7. Preparatory seminar for the preparation of the international conference (Belgium, 6/09/2012)
  8. International conference Pictures Language Policies and Legal Action to overcome Language Barriers in education
  9. Meeting on the evaluation of the project, on the 2013 activities of the European alliance follow-up working group, and on the draft final report (Austria, 15-17/11/2012)

Target group
Education law and policy experts, members of the school inspectorate in European countries, representatives from European networks of teachers’ unions, ngo’s protecting the educational rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, policymakers, migration experts and advocacy groups

Activity Calendar

  21 December 2011
Participatory kick-off meeting of the SC
15 March 2012
Collection of data
31 March 2012
Comparative policy analysis and recommendations
30 April 2012
First interim report
30 April 2012
Quality control workshop by the steering committee
30 April 2012
Project website
19 July 2012
Editing of the reports
31 July 2012
Native English language screening
29 August 2012
Pre-press of the publication
31 August 2012
Second interim report
31 August 2012 Printing of the publication
31 August 2012 Printing of the project brochure
31 August 2012 Press release for the international conference
26 October 2012
Preparatory activities for the international conference
11 October 2012
International conference and action plan for the European alliance working group
15 November 2012 Internal quality control report
15 November 2012
External quality control report
31 January 2013
Final report

Country Reports and Cases (publication foreseen by October 2012)
Reports and Cases

A compilation of country reports that will be elaborated during the course of the project by the participants of the project or other experts, and that are directly linked with the project focus, will be published in the peer reviewed International Journal for Education Law and Policy (IJELP), the official Journal of ‘The European Association for Education Law and Policy’.

To order the publication:


European Legal Framework of Language Rights in Education (2012)

Mother Tongue Education and the Law: a Legal Review (2005)

Multilingualism and Conflict Prevention: Speaking the Language(s) of Integration (2005)

The Legal Foundations of Linguistic Rights: Application to the Field of Education (2005)

Linguistic Rights and Evolving Normative Framework (2005)

Legislating for Higher Education in SEE Countries: the Language Question (2005)

Albania.gifAlbania Country report
Country report
Austria.gifAustria Country report
Country report
Country report
Belgium.gifBelgium Country report
Country report
Denmark.gifDenmarkCountry report
Estonia.gifEstoniaCountry report
Country report
Country report
Germany.gifGermanyCountry report
Hungary.gifHungaryCountry report 1 - Country report 2
Italy.gifItalyCountry report
Latvia.gifLatviaCountry report
Lithuania.gifLithuaniaCountry report
Country report
New Zealand
Country report
Norway.gifNorwayCountry report
Poland.gifPolandCountry report
Romania.gifRomaniaCountry report 1 - Country report 2
Russia.gifRussiaCountry report 1 - Country report 2
Slovak.jpgSlovakiaCountry report 1 - Country report 2
Slovenia.gifSloveniaCountry report
SouthAfrica.gifSouth AfricaCountry report
Spain.gifSpainCountry report 1 - Country report 2
Sweden.gifSwedenCountry report
Turkey.gifTurkeyCountry report 1 - Country report 2
UK.gifUK - England and WalesCountry report
UK.gifUK - Northern IrelandCountry report
UK.gifUK - Scotland
Ukraine.gifUkraineCountry report