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Discover EU's Role
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Discover EU's Role

What is the Directorate General for Education and Culture?

The Directorate General for Education and Culture, or DG EAC, is the branch of the European Commission charged with Education, Training, Youth, Sport, Languages, and Culture .

EAC's activities in the field of languages are framed by the New Framework Strategy for Multilingualism, as well as the Education and Training 2020 strategy (ET2020).

What does it do?

EAC's responsibilities in the field of languages are two-fold; to help promote multilingualism and the learning of languages across Europe, as well as to ensure the protection of minority languages.

Specifically, this includes the development of evidence-based policy and the management of initiatives in support of languages across Europe, most notably under the Erasmus+ programme.

As the executive arm of the European Union, the European Commission is held accountable to the European Parliament, namely, in the case of DG EAC, the Education and Culture Committee.

What has been done so far?

The adoption of the Framework for the Survey on Language Competences, gave a more detailed description of how the Commission should proceed with the measurement of language competence in the Member States.

This initiative has contributed to the development of an evidence base for language policy.

The DG has also been responsible for managing initiatives in the field of languages, such as Languages Mean Business, and coordinating the language aspects of the Erasmus+ programme.

What are the next steps?

A staff working document accompanying the Rethinking Education initiative introduced a benchmark on language learning for the first time:

  • By 2020, at least 50% of 15 year olds should be able to have a simple conversation in their first foreign language
  • By 2020, at least 75% of pupils in lower secondary education should study at least two foreign languages

This benchmark was intended to provide internationally comparable data on the results of foreign language teaching and learning in the EU. It will also help national authorities to develop language-learning policies and improve national standards.