Rector of the Tallinn University of Technology and former minister of education, Jaak Aaviksoo, said in an interview with ERR on Wednesday that in his opinion the summer holidays could be shortened, and children go back to school already on Aug. 1 instead of Sept. 1.
Aaviksoo said that the development would most likely be towards a shorter summer break. Historically the three-month summer break was connected to the needs of a more agricultural economy and the work that needed to be done during the summer months. But economically there was no need anymore for such an arrangement, Aaviksoo stressed.
“Unfortunately we don’t have grandmothers in the country anymore either who could look after the kids. Grandmothers work, grandfathers work, even great-grandfathers work these days,” he added.
Society was undergoing substantial changes, and the reasons why school life had once been arranged the way it still is today had long since changed. “The Estonian school year is one of the shortest. I don’t think that it needs to be longer, but shortening this long break is certainly reasonable,” Aaviksoo said.
Asked how he would change Estonia’s current educational system, Aaviksoo answered that he wouldn’t have a revolution. “I would certainly hold on to what has been achieved in Estonia, because we’re a country with pretty good education. But I agree with those who say that the state should pay more attention to the years leading up to school,” Aaviksoo said.
Commenting on the work of teachers and instructors, Aaviksoo said that though it could be better organized, there wasn’t currently a lack of personnel.
Jaak Aaviksoo has been the rector of the Tallinn University of Technology since September 2015. He has also been a member of the Riigikogu for the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) as well as the minister of defense, the minister of culture and the minister of education in several governments, most recently under Andrus Ansip (Reform). He is also a former rector of the University of Tartu and a member of the Estonian Academy of Science.
Editor: Dario Cavegn