Schools Act Debate to Continue Tonight ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: ERR

Speaker of Parliament Ene Ergma has called a special session of Parliament, starting midnight tonight, to debate the schools act bill.

In addition to the main course, the much talked-about Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, a number of other bills will also be debated and voted on, on what would otherwise have been the first day of the summer holidays for MPs.

Opposition MPs forced a night sitting on Wednesday, taking 10 minute breaks before each vote and quizzing head of the Cultural Affairs Committee, Urmas Klaas for three hours last night.

Head of the IRL's faction in Parliament, Kaia Iva, said in a press release today, that the delaying tactics of the opposition are just a traditional "summer show," adding that the bill was approved by the government already at the beginning of December, and opposition parties had plenty of time to add to the debate.

Sven Mikser, Chairman of the Social Democrats, told that the bill should be postponed, saying that it has many faults, including the fixed 35-hour workweeks and the dropping of bonuses for home room teachers.

IRL's Margus Tsahkna said he doesn't understand the opposition's behavior as most of the bill has been approved by all parties and the thorniest subject, financing, won't be discussed until mid-September, when Parliament adjourns from its summer break.

Former education minister and current Center Party MP Mailis Reps said the previous night passed constructively, as the sides agreed to come back to a number of paragraphs of the draft in September, including work load, teachers' evaluations according to rank, which the coalition seeks to end, and financing support staff.

The controversial bill passed its second reading at 17:00 today and will head into its third and final reading.

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