In an effort to address the fact that many in the northeast still have limited Estonian proficiency, the Ministry of Education of Research is considering better oversight of companies that teach Estonian language courses.
Minister of Education Jevgeni Ossinovski met with Language Inspectorate representatives on Wednesday regarding possibly changing the profile of the agency's powers.
Inspectorate director Ilmar Tomusk said that often the reason for limited proficiency was not that people were not motivated but that they didn't have a place to pick up the language.
In the case of people working in professions where Estonian is required, Tomusk said: "If we issue a precept to people to learn the language on a given level, usually people go to language courses. After they have tried to take the exam it turned out that the courses did not offer what they should. That means the quality of the language companies is not what it could be. This requires an amendment to the Language Act on what powers the Language Inspectorate has.
Ossinovski, who has taken up a number of fixes to make integration more effective, and has also relaxed some requirements for professions that he said don't require perfect Estonian, says the government currently doesn't check up on language companies.
"We agreed that we would work to give the inspectorate the legislative basis it needs and resources to evaluate the content of what language courses are teaching," Ossinovski said.
Other reforms include an amendment to the Penal Code under which lack of language proficiency (again, in a position where Estonian is required) would no longer be subject to a fine starting in 2015. Tomusk said he agreed that this was the right decision.