NGOs Evaluate How Well Ansip Government Has Kept Its Promises, Part 2/2
When it took office in April 2011, the now-outgoing government coalition laid down a program of 539 pledges. Uudised.err.ee asked a team of NGOs - the same "government watchdogs" who reviewed performance going into last October's local elections and found 61of the pledges had been fulfilled — to analyze the key actions and omissions in 11 fields. Here are the last five of them.
Health policy (Praxis Center for Policy Studies)
+ The government fulfilled several more specific promises — such as starting grants for young doctors, improving care, reorganizing emergency care.
- The specific changes, however, do nothing to tackle the long-term problems plaguing the health system — the unsustainable health insurance and hospital network system, labor shortages and the uneven availability of services. The strike of health workers in October 2012 was an important indicator; salary raises eased some tensions but failed to get to the bottom of the problem.
- A development plan for healthcare is apparently in the works but it has not been made public yet. The ministry is probably too busy with the EU directive on cross-border healthcare, however; the directive probably will not concern the majority of residents of Estonia in the nearest future.
Social issues (Praxis Center for Policy Studies)
+ The most important promises that were fulfilled by the government include parental pensions (a pension supplement for bringing up a child), and the implementation of a needs-based family allowance, but the small amount does not move low-income families to use the opportunity in reality.
- Still to be fulfilled are promises on insurances for work-related accidents and occupational diseases, the reform of special pensions and pension benefits has also stalled. The government has started on the reform of the insurance against disablement, which was not on the list of promises but concerns several aims linked to engaging the disabled in the labor market.
Public administration (Praxis Center for Policy Studies)
+ The coalition made headway in reforming public service and centralizing support services, the passing of the new law on public service being one of the bigger achievements. It is too early to pass a verdict on its effectiveness a year after it came into force, but it is still a step forward.
- Unfortunately, this experience was not taken further to make updates in the fields of governing and administration. The field of governance faced the same problems plaguing the administrative reform — those that want, can’t. Those that can, won’t.
Information society (Liia Hänni, e-Governance Academy)
+ The government of Andrus Ansip bolstered ICT-related administrative management, which has improved co-operation between agencies and helped to introduce Estonian e-State solutions in the world.
+ A new development plan until 2020 and a green paper on developing public services were drawn up, and are being implemented with support from the EU structural funds.
- The deadline for plans related to Open Data was not met and much needs to be done in terms of the e-Citizen and e-Official partnership.
Education (Praxis Center for Policy Studies)
+/- Extensive reforms have taken place in this field, most notably the reform in funding higher education, ushering in free higher education, the switch to a needs-based education allowances, creating scholarships and allowing PhD students to work as junior researchers. Most of these reforms have been controversial and their results can be assessed in a few years.
+/- In the field of general education, the ministry has been concerned with the salaries of teachers and organizing the school network. The salary raise was not in the coalition agreement — the issue emerged due to the March 2012 teachers’ strike.
+ The opening of the Tallinn European School for children of foreigners and the strategy for lifelong learning are important steps.
- The continued deficit of kindergarten places is a significant failure.