The problem with these Comenius and other projects is the continuity,
It is a maximum of three years with a little bit money.
I heard that it was not easy to be in a project.
You have to get the money from the European platform in your country.
Continuity is certainly a problem. After the funding period comes to an end you are on your own, i.e. you have to sustain the project out of your own funds or commercialise it so that it pays for itself. Neither option is easy. Writing a proposal for EC funding is time-consuming. Reporting on what you are doing / have done with the money is also time-consuming.
Referring back to the ICT4LT project that I have already mentioned:
We got funding from the EC for just two years: 50% came from the EC and 50% came from the partners in the project, namely four universities and CILT (Centre for Information on Language Teaching), a non-governmental organisation (NGO). This is the norm for projects funded under Socrates. Now the project sustains itself. It requires my personal intervention only for around 3-4 hours per week. I was also a member of a Leonardo project, in which 60% of the funding came from the EC, with the remaining 40% coming from partner universities and commercial partners. No money in either case came from national organisations, but we did have to make the funding applications via our national representatives of the EU funding bodies (operated by The British Council, in the UK) and report back to them.
Yes, “learning languages is good for going on holiday”, as Hubert says, but language professionals (e.g. translators and interpreters) have to be trained to a very high level, and this takes time and money. Although English is becoming de facto the lingua franca of the European Union, we cannot ignore the other languages, as many people feel comfortable working only in their mother tongue, and this is why a lot of money is spent on translating and interpreting and on language education. A good deal of work on advanced language education is being done by the European Language Council, which is a consortium of universities that acts as a kind of lobby group, advising the European Commission on language education policy in higher education: http://www.fu-berlin.de/elc/
Speakers of what the EC calls LWULT languages (Least Widely Used and Least Taught languages) have to put a lot of effort into learning a language that gives them access to a wider range of speakers. It is estimated that around 350-400 hours of language learning are required to get a learner up to Threshold Level, Common European Framework Level B1, which is the level at which you begin to communicate with some degree of confidence. The first choice of a foreign language is normally English, followed by French, German and Spanish (not necessarily in that order). For speakers of LWULT languages it is taken for granted that the school system will provide several years of training in a more widely accessible language – and this costs a lot of time and money. In the UK and Ireland things are different. The UK and Ireland fall at the bottom the EU league as far as language learning is concerned. As everyone appears to be learning English we simply don’t invest in language teaching. The UK government has recently decided, for example, that foreign languages need only be taught in schools in England for the first three years of secondary education, i.e. to children aged 11-14. This is hardly enough time to bring them up to a level where they can use the languages on holiday. So the next generation will remain tongue-tied.