29.01.18

House of Lords presentation: Cognitive benefits of bilingualism

By Dina Mehmedbegovic

In this session we focused on repositioning language learning and language use as a new key health and wellbeing asset, that should be of interest not only to learners and educators, but health professionals, policy makers, economists and politicians looking to lighten the burden of dementia care on society. To put this argument into perspective here are some key figures:

Cost of dementia:

  • Current estimate UK Cost £26.3 billion
  • In 2007 £17 billion
  • EU cost: last report in 2014 167 billion Euros
  • Projections for Europe by 2030: 250 billion Euros
  • Cost per person in the UK around £32.000 a year.

According to Alzheimers society £80 million can be saved by improving hospital care.

How much can be saved by individuals putting off dementia by 3 – 5 years?


About the author

Dina Mehmedbegovic

Dina is a lecturer on a range of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) courses at PGCE, MA and doctoral level. She was on the core IOE team developing the National English as an Additional Language (EAL) Workforce Strategy; a key staff member in the development of the new programmes addressing the needs of bilingual children: MA in Bilingual Learners in Urban Settings and PGCE EAL Pathway. Her previous roles also include: Deputy Director of the London Education Research Unit (2009-11) and the editor of the IOE publication the London Digest, with the brief of generating and sharing knowledge on key education issues in London and global cities. Her research focuses on attitudes to bilingualism/multilingualism, minority languages and positioning of languages in relation to domination, political power and language disappearance. She is currently developing interdisciplinary work with colleagues from neuroscience aimed at providing a broader evidence base for advocating cognitive benefits of bilingualism in education and life-long learning. Her concept Healthy Linguistic Diet is an innovative approach to language learning and has been endorsed by the EU Commission in their report: Rethinking Language Education, as a part of the EU Language policy review.

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