In 2008, the Department of Education and Science and the Language Policy Division of the Council of Europe jointly published a 'Language Education Policy Profile' for Ireland. The Profile is the result of a process of reflection by the Department on its language education policies, facilitated by a Council of Europe expert group.
The Profile presents an analysis of the current state of language education in primary and second-level education in Ireland and outlines a range of policy principles and action priorities for the future.
On welcoming the publication of the Profile, the Minister said, "In a changing Ireland, language policy and provision are important factors in promoting social inclusion and cohesion. The Council of Europe expert group recommends that language policy is not just a matter for the education system. It requires more than the initiative and action of one government department."
According to the Council of Europe expert group, the main challenge for Ireland in terms of vision for the future is to move from an official but restricted bilingualism (English/Irish) to become a truly multilingual society, where the ability to learn and use two or more languages is taken for granted, and is fostered at every stage of the education system and through lifelong learning. Languages are not a special skill for "linguists", according to the Profile. They are for everybody. The aim of language education is to enable every learner to develop his or her own personal repertoire of language skills, according to the individual's needs and interests. Most of all, it is necessary develop in society at large the conviction that "English is not enough". While Irish and English will always maintain their central role in Irish society and education, other languages are part of Ireland's cultural, social and economic resources, and must find an appropriate place in the education system.
The Minister said that this report would be considered in future policy formulation in relation to language education. The full report is available on the Department of Education and Science website at Council of Europe - Language Education Policy Profile.