President OKs New Schools Act ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The much-debated new Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act has been ratified by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The two opposition parties petitioned Ilves to reject the bill, saying it will sow confusion, reported

A major talking point is the threshold needed to pass state exams. The new law constitutes that all students who gain at least 1 percent of the maximum points available will pass although anyone scoring under 20 percent will still get an "unsatisfactory" grade.

Parliament passed the bill on June 20, after a final, nearly 24-hour-long debate.

The ruling coalition removed a few of the more controversial issues from the bill, including financing changes, pledging to bring them up in mid-September when MPs return from their summer break. The governing parties had been driving to push the bill into law before the break so as not to confuse schools with legal changes after the start of the new school year in September.

Ratification draws criticism

The head of the Center Party faction in Parliament, Kadri Simson, told that the president missed an opportunity to force a bill with a wider consensus.

“He did say that controversial issues should be solved with a wider consensus. But in this instance, I do not see him wanting to use his moral powers,” Simson said.

The MP said the new law is not final, adding that the minister of education has pledged to open all provisions of the law for debate in the fall.