What the papers say: Secrets of PISA results, Ratas, ID card prices
On Tuesday, December 17 the papers were dominated by reaction to the Minster of the Interior Mart Helme's comments towards Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Wednesday's coming storm, and pharmacy reform. Here is a selection of other stories that were also reported.
Secrets of Estonia's PISA results revealed
The secret to Estonia's top PISA results for education is that the country is never satisfied with what it has achieved, one of the creators of the test Andreas Schleicher told Postimees. He said: "You have a really great system, it's much lighter and more flexible than other European countries" adding that the Estonian education system "adapts to the needs of its students". He also said teachers were ready to try new things but some methods were quite traditional, which in his view was a positive thing, such as not replacing teacher-centered learning with student-centered learning which is not working in some other countries. When asked what Estonia could improve upon, Schleicher said: "It is the strength of your system that you are never completely satisfied with yourself" and said resting on laurels was not appropriate.
Ratas: Helme did insult the Finnish prime minister
Speaking to Eesti Päevaleht in a long end-of-year interview, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said he believed interior minister Martin Helme (EKRE) had meant to insult Finland's new prime minister Sanna Marin even if he said he didn't, "Of course, it was an insult," he said in Tuesday's paper. When asked if he was offended or insulted about having to apologize for EKRE's comments he said his job was to make the coalition operational: "I think the job of the Prime Minister is that you really have to solve problems and issues," adding "I am working to make sure Estonia is well, that the people of Estonia are doing well." Speaking about pharmacy reform he said he was not the instigator but that "My position is that I think we need to do all we can to make medicines as accessible as possible."
Russian Ambassador to Estonia: Russia is not attacking anyone
Delfi interviewed Alexander Petrov, the Russian ambassador to Estonia, who said the past year has both positive and negative moments for Estonian-Russian relations, and he considered President Kerst Kaljulaid's meeting with Russian head of state Vladimir Putin positive but said the claim that Russia occupied 5 percent of Estonia was negative.
"We see a multi-faceted picture with good and bad signs in our bilateral relations. It is in the interest of both sides to develop this," Petrov concluded.
Petrov said Russia does not plan to attack Estonia: "A few weeks ago, Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg said that Russia is not going to attack anyone."
Ordering ID cards and passports will be cheaper from 2020
Portal Geenius writes that from January 6, 2020, the state fee for applying for a passport and ID card in the police self-service environment will be reduced by €5. Applying for an ID card will cost an adult €20 instead of the previous €25, a passport will cost €35, and ordering both documents together will also be €45 in total.
From the new year, the fee rates for other services will also change. A state fee of €5 euros will be charged when applying for new PIN codes in Estonia and it will cost €20 euros to apply at a foreign embassy.
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Editor: Helen Wright