Language Policy

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Language Policy is fundamental in supporting learning each other's languages and is a key area for the APEC Strategic Plan for English and Other Languages mandated by APEC ministers.

Language Policy is an expression, in general terms, of the aspirations of an economy,a province, or a state for learning language.

Language Policy affects the major components of learning content:

Language Policies of APEC Member Economies

The following table contains samples of language policies from various APEC members.

Of the APEC economies, Australia, Canada, and USA have decentralized systems where policy decisions are made at the provincial or state level.


Document Title



National Statement for Languages Education in Australian Schools

Detailed text with purpose, developments, and application of plan.

Brunei Darussalam

Education Policy

Overview of national education policies developed by UNESCO, which states one of the goals of Brunei Darussalam's education system is to "promote and sustain an education system in which the Malay language will continue to play a leading role as the official national language, while the use of English and/or Arabic as medium of instruction is not neglected."


Policy Document: English as a Second Language

British Columbia policy statement emphasizing English as a Second Language aiming at proficient, intellectually developed, and well-trained students.


China's ELT at School Today

PowerPoint presentation that covers general policies and reform directions of teaching English in China, including professional development and textbook design. Examines current challenges and future directions in English language instruction.

Chinese Taipei

Promotion of the Teaching of a Second Foreign Language in Senior High Schools

Internationalization of Higher Education from the Perspective of Globalization

Describes increasing the number of courses and languages taught and establishment of working groups for internationalization of curricula and teacher preparation.

Emphasizes the expansion of exchange programs and cross-border education.


Act of the Republic of Indonesia on the National Education System

Comprehensive national policy outlining basic principles of education, types of instruction and curricula, and legal and procedural statements.

New Zealand

The National Education Guidelines

Overview of the Guidelines and their four components: national education goals:- foundation policy curriculum statements:- national curriculum statements:- and national administration guidelines.


Turning Around Low Performance in English: A Priority Program for 2008

Aims to improve low performance in English language assessments, including intervention at the student, teacher, and school levels, and support procedures.


Recommendations of the English Language Curriculum and Pedagogy Review

Promotes desired outcomes for students learning English in a multilingual environment. Makes several recommendations on how educators and administrators might fulfill such goals at the primary, secondary, and pre-university levels. The desired outcomes for learning the Chinese language, Malay language and Tamil language have also been outlined in major mother tongue language reviews undertaken in recent years.

United States

National Security Language Initiative

Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2007-12 for the U.S. Department of Education

Overview of many programs administered under this broad initiative, which seeks a multi-agency approach to improving critical language skills.

Details goals and methods for improvement in many subject areas, including English language arts and critical foreign languages.

Language Policy Issues 

Language policy was discussed by representatives from many APEC economies at the 2007 APEC Learning Standards for English and Other Languages Seminar.  Patricia Duff writes extensively on language policy issues in "Foreign Language Policies, Research, and Educational Possibilities" her research paper presened at the seminar. The  pertinent issues included  in the paper are as followes::

  • An overview of significant changes and reforms in educational fields (pages 5-7);
  • The age (page 7) at which foreign language instruction is recommended depends upon the duration and intensity of the intervention, as well as on its effect on first language development in an additive rather than subtractive manner (pages 7-9);
  • The amount of instructional time needed to acquire proficiency in a foreign languageand how it relates to differences in grammar, orthography, and phonology between students’ first and target foreign language (page 9);
  • Problems of articulation between language teaching at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels (pages 13-14);
  • Lifelong learning in the 21st century (pages 14-15) and the use of  computer assisted instruction for language learning in an any time, any place context (p.15-17); and,
  • Securing equity among genders at all stages of education, including foreign language instruction (pages 19-20).

Duff concludes:-

With growing transnationalism, mobility, and the global flow of goods, services, and knowledge (as well as people), we must move beyond methods that were designed primarily for guest workers and unskilled immigrants, on the one hand, or for classical scholars, on the other hand. Policy and curriculum must be decided within each socio-educational context, given an economy’s history, resources, and aspirations . .  .  Most of all, the public must recognize that languages are of vital importance to contemporary societies and economies and that FL learning can expand people’s horizons and opportunities immeasurably and increase the likelihood of their participation in the changing global economy. (pages 20-21)