European universities are confronted with a variety of new linguistic challenges as a result of EU enlargement, increased intra-European mobility and migration, globalisation, and the internationalisation of higher education and research. Moreover, there has been a decrease in language provision at tertiary level in a number of European countries; and while English has assumed the role of a lingua franca / lingua academica, there are alarming reports from across Europe that students' mastery of their first languages has declined.
The CEL/ELC firmly believes that each university should have its own specific language policy, reflecting the institution's mission and context. For more than eleven years, the CEL/ELC has sought to contribute to the development and implementation of higher education language policies - through dedicated working groups and network projects.
The CEL/ELC Board therefore decided to establish a working group dedicated to higher education language policy with a view to identifying pertinent new developments and challenges, and to defining reference points that higher education instutitions in Europe may want to consider when developing or revising their own specific language policies.
The working group was launched at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel on 24 September 2011. It was chaired by Karen M. Lauridsen of Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences (Denmark). The group concluded its research at the end of 2012 and produced a final report with recommendations.
The full text of the report can be found here.