European Journal of Language Policy

Towards a national policy for languages in education: the case of Ireland

European Journal of Language Policy (2013), 5, (1), 99–114.

Abstract

This article presents an approach for the development of national policies for education in foreign languages and applies it to the case of Ireland. The approach proposes an analysis of the language ecology and language ideology of a state in a particular socio-economic context in order to create a basis for the identification of the optimum linguistic situation. This mode of investigation facilitates the identification of policy decisions and initiatives that can shape the creation of such a linguistic landscape. The results show that it is necessary for Ireland to implement a series of measures to ensure that foreign-language competence is encouraged throughout the educational system. These include the introduction of foreign languages creatively as mandatory elements in primary school and their retention at secondary level as a prerequisite for university. In addition, there is need for university language policies and an awareness campaign for improved foreign-language skills in Ireland.

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Bruen, Jennifer