Number of Estonian language lessons for refugees to increase

Refugee children in an Estonian language lesson. (Tairo Lutter/Postimees/Scanpix)
9/13/2016 4:45 PM
Source: BNS
Category: News

While at present the refugees coming to Estonia under the European Union’s migrant relocation program are getting 100 hours of Estonian lessons, the state is planning to offer them more.

Triin Raag, in charge of international protection policy at the Ministry of Social Affairs, told BNS on Tuesday that every refugee brought to Estonia under the EU migrant distribution plan will study the local language for 100 hours, after which every student is expected to have reached beginners’ knowledge of Estonian.

According to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF), a person with A1 knowledge of a language “can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type; introduce themselves and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people they know and things they have; and can interact in a simple way, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help”.

Raag said that the ministry had taken into account that there was a need to increase the number of language lessons, which had been considered already when planning the budget.

At present, the cost of one refugee’s language lessons is €1,560 over two years. The lessons are funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

Raag added that all people granted asylum in Estonia had to learn Estonian and obtain the competence prescribed by law. It didn’t matter whether the person arrived in Estonia by themselves or under the European Union’s migrant relocation program.

Estonia has so far accepted 47 war refugees from Greece and Turkey under the European migrant distribution plan.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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