education, which includes Basic Education (divided in three cycles, a total of nine years) and Secondary Education (of a total of three years). At the end of this last level, students undergo the necessary exams according to the course they wish to enrol in. The second pathway is related to the Post-Secondary Education, consisting of Technology Specialisation Courses which students can complete before being admitted to HE. The third and last pathway, via “Over 23”, relates to those who have not yet completed the secondary or even the basic level of education, but gained knowledge through life experience. This last level is directly related to adult education, lifelong learning and NTAS. 2. Learning Languages – a process of and for a lifetime In spite of some resistance, it is increasingly accepted and envisaged that Education is not solely limited to school contexts, where so-called formal knowledge is monopolised; the non-formal and informal learning are a crucial part of the competencies acquired throughout life. Learning languages emerges, according to Mackiewiczv (1998), as "a lifelong process extending across the entire span of institutional education and training and including learning outside institutional settings. The emphasis on lifelong language learning reflects the facts that it is impossible to predict the practical and personal communicative needs people may have after leaving education and training.” (p. 4). Gradually, the political agents have assumed that “language learning is for all (...) is for the learner (...) is for intercultural communication (...) is for life: it should develop learner responsibility and independence necessary to respond to the challenges of lifelong language learning.” (CE, 2006, p. 56). Thus, it should be based on the principle whereby each one is able to learn languages according to the emerging needs throughout life, either due to personal, professional or cultural matters, or simply because it is the person’s wish, resisting the hegemony of a single language and promoting the learning capacity, understanding and daring to face what is uncertain and complex (J. C. Beacco, 2008; Semal-Lebleu, 2006). This plural learning process, sustained by the notion of Plurilingualism 3, should be envisaged by the individual and his/her inherent learning processes and it culminates in the structuring of plurilingual competence. Plurilingual competence is understood as an “ability to use languages for the purposes of communication and to take part in intercultural interaction, where a person, viewed as a social actor has proficiency, of varying degrees, in several languages and experience of several cultures.” (Coste, Moore, & Zarate, 2009, p. 11). Considered as “the development of a composite repertoire, original and complex, where the different languages in contact interact and combine” 3 The words Plurilingualism and Multilingualism may be found in literature. The European Council (EC) and the European Union (EU) have solved this terminology dilemma in different ways. The EC considers that the Plurilingualism refers to the individual and Multilingualism to the context. The EU uses the word Multilingualism to refer to the individual and the expression linguistic diversity to refer to the European society.