The Society for Estonian Education in Finland has experimented with online Estonian courses to Estonian children in various countries, and a successful trial has led to plans to include younger students.
There were 12 students from Finland, Germany and Canada in the program in the last academic year, and the initial idea was to improve the Estonian skills of children who are living abroad but are about to return to Estonia for high school. However, in the course of the classes, it turned out that two thirds of the students had never attended school in Estonia, the daily Eesti Päevaleht reported today.
The classes were conducted in Moodle, the Information Technology Foundation's online studies environment, and consisted of online exercises with individual feedback.
In time, the courses should take the form of an online Estonian secondary school, with subjects like history and mathematics taught in addition to Estonian. The option is meant as an alternative for Estonian children who live in areas where there are no Estonian schools nearby.
Piret Kärner, a language studies specialist at the Ministry of Education, told Eesti Päevaleht that online Estonian studies have potential and agrees that children of various ages could participate in the future.
The Compatriots Program of the Ministry of Education spends 70,000 euros a year on education projects, such as language immersion camps and Estonian classes for children of Estonian origin living abroad. However, it does not offer permanent funding for Estonian e-education.