“Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education." This is the theme chosen by UNESCO to celebrate the International Day of Languages 2017. As proclaimed by UNESCO, “the main goal of this day is to contribute to promoting Global Citizenship education. UNESCO also notes that “minority and regional langiage transmit cultures, values and ditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures in education”. In the words of UNESCO’s Director General, Irinia Bukova, on this Day “I launch an appeal for the potential of multilingual education to be acknowledged everywhere, in education and administrative systems, in cultural expressions and the media, cyberspace and trade”.
NPLD joins the International efforts led by UNESCO as it believes that education is key in today’s world. The presence of languages in education is a vital subject area enshrined in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of the Council of Europe. In this sense, NPLD wishes to note that a remarkable number of regional or minority languages are still insufficiently represented in education or are not used as vehicular languages and are, therefore, often not considered part of the multilingual strategy in the educational systems of many countries in which these languages are autochthonous languages, and are spoken by large parts of society as their mother tongues.
An equitable approach to multilingualism must include all languages, regardless of number of speakers, political or economic weight. Disregarding regional or minority languages from multilingual education policies does not represent an inclusive approach to language diversity. For this reason, the NPLD approved a Roadmap for Linguistic Diversity to work at a European level on the promotion of a more fair and equitable approach. NPLD wishes to invite all stakeholders working in the field of multilingualism to join the efforts and develop policies in which all languages are included.