Parent Group Threatens Legal Action if Estonian-Language Curriculum Enforced

Photo: ERR
3/30/2011 11:48 AM
Category: Politics

An organization representing parents of Russian-speaking schoolchildren says it will go to court if the state implements the requirement of 60 percent Estonian-language curriculum in Russian upper secondary schools from September 2011.

The Council of Russian Schools, established in September 2010, is a nonprofit organization uniting Russian-language students' parents and representatives from different institutions.

Aleksandr Tarakanov, a member of the council board, said the decision violates constitutional rights. "We are left with no other choice than to go to court and defend our fundamental rights to learn in our mother tongue," Tarkanov added.

On March 25, the organization sent an appeal to the High Commissioner on National Minorities at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

Minister of Education Tõnis Lukas stated that the council's actions are purely political and have been prepared far ahead of time. "If their arguments in Estonia fall short, they turn to the international community, it's just the way it goes; and that has also been the main device used by Russian propaganda. There is nothing surprising here," said the minister.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Yana Toom says the changeover is not possible in Tallinn and Narva schools because many teachers do not meet the language requirements and students graduate from ninth grade with a B1-level language proficiency, which is not enough to study compulsory high school subjects in Estonian.


Ingrid Teesalu

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