Iakovos Tsiplakides


Multilingualism lies at the heart of educational policies adopted in most European Union countries. Knowledge of foreign languages now forms a significant part of the agenda concerning equality of educational opportunity. These policies are based on the premise that foreign languages help individuals in their professional and private life, combating poverty and social exclusion. In this paper, we present the education policies in relation to foreign languages in three European Union countries, Germany, Spain and Greece in order to examine whether they have been influenced by the equality agenda. We also present the results of a research study the aim of which was to investigate lower secondary education students’ views and attitudes toward the teaching of foreign languages. Students seem to accept the official rhetoric regarding the beneficial outcomes of foreign languages. We conclude that multilingualism can contribute to the reduction of social class inequalities, as they can offer to all students, regardless of socioeconomic background, the opportunity to overcome obstacles and succeed in the education and employment field. 


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equality of educational opportunity, foreign languages, social class inequalities


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