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Global Call to Action (GCTA) for Heritage Language (HL) Education


Why not a peaceful world? – Sobhia Anfal Boularas, Peace School, UK


Launched officially on 21st February 2024 for International Mother Language Day (UNESCO), this Global Call to Action has been made by the Global Heritage Language Think Tank, of which Dr Jim Anderson is a member.  It recognises the greater awareness of multilingualism across the world and how heritage languages represent a precious but largely neglected resource in society and in particular within our education system. In a world which is more interconnected and interdependent than ever linguistic skills and intercultural agility are crucially important and an essential means of building social cohesion.

Let us remember that the UK is a multilingual country where an estimated 300 languages are spoken. In fact, over 20% of children come from homes where another language is spoken. It is estimated that some 60 languages are being taught in over 3000 community-led settings, also known as complementary or supplementary schools, attended by many thousands of children who have the potential to reap the recognised benefits associated with bilingualism (cognitive, social, cultural, and vocational). Far from being divisive socially the heritage language learning undertaken in these community settings, provided largely by volunteers, enables young people to develop confidence in their bi/multilingual identities. It also means that as active citizens they can play an important mediating role in local and global communities.

Over the years the Department of Educational Studies at Goldsmiths has played a leading role in promoting an integrated and inclusive approach to language education and in providing professional development courses to support foreign and heritage language learning as well as English as an Additional Language. Through the university’s Centre for Language, Culture and Leaning innovative research has been carried out in relation to multilingual policy, identity and faith, the arts and creativity, digital storytelling and pedagogy. The Critical Connections: Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project (2012-ongoing) is one example of work which has brought together students, teachers and researchers of heritage as well as foreign languages nationally and internationally. Prioritising student agency and voice it has enabled young people to move across curriculum areas, to bridge learning in and beyond the classroom and to draw, critically and creatively on multiple resources for meaning making: Further innovative research can be accessed within the multilingualism strand of CLCL:

Members of the Centre for Language, Culture and Leaning fully endorse the view expressed in Global Call to Action that ‘education must become a fundamental element in official language education policies in societies across the world’. It also pledges its full support to achieving this.

Information about the Global Call to Action for Heritage Language Education

GCTA HLE – v.01 – EN (1)

The Global Call to Action for Heritage Language Education

HLE website


Home, heritage, Community Languages Advisory Group


Blog by Dr Jim Anderson, Centre for Language, Culture and Learning, Goldsmiths