Tallinn to Appeal Court's Ruling on Russian-Language Schools

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart is in charge of educational affairs for the city. Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
7/9/2012 3:13 PM
Category: Education

The City of Tallinn will appeal a ruling made by the Tallinn Administrative Court last Friday regarding Russian-language schools.

The decision threw out the city's complaint over the national government's mandate forbidding the upper secondary schools from using Russian as their primary language of study.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart said the government's mandate is in violation of section 37 of the Constitution, which gives minority educational institutions the right to determine what language is used.

“Parents should have a decisive say in their children's education. In the given situation, parents have through representative councils demanded that some minority grade schools retain Russian as the language of study. Therefore, the city has a responsibility to honor the constitutionally-backed decisions made by the parents,” Kõlvart said in a press release.

The city's move is in response to the three-year transition to 60 percent Estonian-language curriculum imposed on Russian-language high schools starting this academic year, a change that has come under fire from the Centre Party-controlled Tallinn government.

In late December, the Cabinet rejected a plea by 15 upper secondary schools in Tallinn and Narva to be exempted from the transition.

In another effort to fight the change, the Tallinn City Council decided in February to establish a city-funded school where students can receive free primary and secondary education in Russian.

The Tallinna Vene Lütseum, which will be set up as a foundation, will also conduct continuing education courses, Delfi reported. Because the schools would technically be private, they would not be subject to the state's language requirements. Narva has made similar plans to set up a Russian-language school.


Ott Tammik

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