Joseph Lo Bianco
Trustee Joe Jo Bianco

Editor’s note: In this piece, Trustee Joe Lo Bianco reports on TIRF’s endorsement of two important international language policy statements.    

As part of TIRF’s role to encourage language policies which promote best practices in English teaching and research around the world, the Board of Trustees monitors developments that have the potential to shape the future of language education. In light of this goal, TIRF Board members recently voted to endorse both the Juba Conference Statement and the Lahore Declaration on Language Sciences in the Developing World.

The Lahore Declaration calls for the use of language research “that both forwards our understanding of how language works and functions in society and of how these understandings of language can be used ethically and appropriately to create better societies.” The full Juba Conference document is a series of statements about language in education. It can be found on pages seven and eight of Multilingual Education in Africa. This book can be downloaded for free from the British Council’s website by clicking here.

TIRF considers these statements to represent important milestones promoting equitable and excellent language education in diverse contexts. We encourage affiliate and partner organizations to promote public awareness and endorsement of the important principles these statements contain. These two documents should stimulate discussion about principles of international education, as well as donor-recipient relations in international aid and professional collaboration, in both teaching and research endeavours. We would like to stress that TIRF is concerned only with the language education principles contained in the two statements, and does not necessarily agree with all the specific details or wording.

TIRF is committed to fostering an international dialogue among non-governmental organizations and public officials in relation to the role of English in national education systems and as a global auxiliary language. We encourage professional associations to provide time in their meetings for discussion of the Lahore Declaration and the Juba Conference Statement, with the intent of encouraging debate about the principles and practices these statements promote.