Learning French, Arabic or Chinese may give the learner some insight into one culture (or group of cultures); Esperanto, used by people from countless cultures and language backgrounds around the world, can provide insights into many ethnic cultures, from a uniquely independent perspective.
I have used Esperanto in many countries for more than 40 years. I have no doubt that chatting with an Albanian family in a language that belongs equally to us both gives me an incomparably better insight into their culture than I would gain through halting Albanian. I wonder, was the DfES comment based on research, careful study or (perish the thought) prejudice?
David Kelso. former HM Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland, Kilncadzow, Carluke