Welcome message from the European Commissioner, Mrs Androulla Vassiliou to the REAL Website
As European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, I welcome your new site. The aim of this site is to become the voice of many language teachers in Europe. It is indeed a noble and needed goal. Language teachers have a central role to play in building a multilingual and multicultural Europe. More than teachers of other subjects, they are called upon to exemplify the European values of openness to others, tolerance of differences, and willingness to communicate. They naturally raise awareness to the European dimension in our daily life. Your new site will be an added value to achieve these objectives. It will certainly reinforce the exchanges of best practices, information and knowledge between language professionals across Europe, as well as address the burning issues of your job.
Education plays a vital part in Europe's strategy to address the consequence of the current economic crisis and to equip the young for tomorrow's job market. It fosters knowledge and creativity and is crucial to help find new sources for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Knowledge of languages is part of this process. Learning foreign languages improve job prospects and allow us to broaden our horizons, to look at our own habits more critically and to approach problems in a creative and innovative way. Multilingualism is the passport to a larger world of opportunity and helps in opening people's minds to the different cultures and history, which is an integral part of Europe's heritage.
In a multilingual European Union everybody should have the opportunity to communicate appropriately in order to realise his or her potential and make the most of the opportunities offered by our society; everybody should have access to appropriate language training or to other means of facilitating communication so that there is no undue linguistic obstacle to living, working or communicating in the European Union.
We acknowledge the pivotal role of language teachers and of effective language teaching for the success of multilingualism in Europe. The qualifications, competences and commitment of teachers are important factors in achieving high-quality educational outcomes. It is therefore essential to provide the highest standard of initial education, induction and continuing professional development for teaching staff. As the Member States of the European Union are the key decision-makers on language policy we invite them to enhance the training of all teachers and others involved in language teaching and to promote mobility among language teachers to enhance their language and intercultural skills.
The European Commission will keep promoting EU programmes to support the teaching of languages through lifelong learning, teacher and student mobility, language teacher training, school partnerships, and research and development of innovative teaching methods adapted to different target groups. Projects such as REAL are a step in this direction. We will keep committed to promote quality language learning and preserve linguistic diversity in Europe. With our new strategy we want to show that languages not only reflect Europe's past but can also improve its future. I wish you the best of success in your project.
European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.