Language Education Policy Studies
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21st Century Forces in Language and Education

The notion of development according to the colonizing and imperial Europe and U.S. has evolved into many projects that now often involve education. The second UNESCO Millenium Development Goal is Universal Primary Education. As education has become more and more vocational and globally standardized, a country’s development is now linked to its education system and directly implicated in language issues.


In this section of the website you will find many factors that affect language in education policies currently. We are faced with more communication, interconnection, potential for awareness, and susceptibility to forces that are often far removed from local areas and traditional community practices. Besides the current economic interconnections, you will find the current situation and conception of education as well as success and purpose of education. How the national or international agendas are developed affects the shape and language of schooling. In addition, new trends are emerging in literacies and technology. Yet all of these often lead to inequality rather than access.


At the same time, as global language and education models spread, this economic and educational situation increasingly affects languages.  Linguistic diversity is changing and threatened, often by the global spread of English. This leaves many people who end up needing to treat their mother tongue as a heritage language and often to revive it and reinstitute it as a community. How to do so brings us back to questions of what education can be, and how it can be reorganized to give people, students, and teachers autonomy or sovereignty in making educational and language decisions. We find the same situation of exclusiveness of English in higher education and academic journals, at the same time that these can be conduits to better policies and practices.

VIDEOS Teachers College, Columbia, conference on Education and Development Education and Job link in Africa. Millenium Development Goal of universal primary education.


Fishman, J.A., Ferguson, C.A. and Das Gupta, J. (Eds.). (1968) Language Problems of Developing Nations. New York: Wiley.


Fox, M.J. (1975) Language and Development: A Retrospective Survey of Ford Foundation Language Projects, 1952-1974. New York: Ford Foundation.


Grubb, W. N., & Lazerson, M. (2004). The Education Gospel: The Economic Power of Schooling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Introduction).


Lin, A. M., & Martin, P.W. (Eds.). (2005). Decolonisation, globalization: Language-in-education policy and practice (vol. 3.). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.


Pachler, N. (2007). Editorial: Choices in language education: principles and policies. Cambridge Journal of Education, 37 (1). 1-15.


Peet, Richard and Elaine Hartwick. 1999. Theories of Development. Guilford Press.

Harrison, K. M. & Tochon, F. V. (2013). 21st Century Forces in Language and Education. In F. V. Tochon (Ed.), Language Education Policy Studies (online). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin—Madison. Retrieved from: (access date). 
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