State to continue funding private schools’ operating subsidies on limited basis through 2019
After half a year of debate over the issue, the Estonian Government came to an agreement regarding changes to be made to the country’s Private Schools Act at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
The arrangements currently in force will continue through the end of 2016, after which, and through the end of 2019, the state will continue to fund private schools’ operating subsidies to the extent of 75 percent of the amount of average local operating subsidies, but which will not exceed 87 euros per student per month.
According to Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi, such an arrangement will allow for the ministry to redirect released resources to teachers’ payroll funds.
“The current system is not sustainable from any perspective, and so this decision was imperative,” explained Ligi. “While the transition period has lengthened, we can nonetheless now focus on education policy priorities, which in the case of schools is increasing teachers’ wages.”
The Minister of Education and Research stressed that it is the legal obligation of local governments to ensure the diversity of its network of schools.
“We did not consider it possible to simply reduce private schools’ operating subsidies to zero this year, as is specified in the draft bill currently in the Riigikogu,” added Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna. “The half-year dispute culminated in a solution that ensures a truce with private schools for the next few years.”