In an effort to spur debate regarding who should have the right to decide major issues regarding schools, non-parliamentary political party Estonia 200 began collecting signatures on Sunday in order to mount an initiative for the Riigikogu to discuss the procedure for electing school principals.
According to Estonia 200 chairwoman Kristina Kallas, current laws don't allow school communities, including its students, teachers, parents, alumni and others, to have a say in the election or firing or school principals, and the right to do so currently lies exclusively in the hands of school managers, leaving the degree of involvement of the community in such decisions up to local authorities' political culture, daily Postimees writes (link in Estonian).
"Unfortunately we have seen lately that all too frequent are cases in which local political culture lets down the school community and decisions regarding the election or firing of a school principal are made without taking into account the school community's opinion or, indeed, completely to the contrary of the community's position," Kallas said.
The party hopes that the initiative will spur further debate regarding both the competences of school managers in the management of modern educational institutions as well as more broadly regarding what a professional principal should be and how schools and the work of principals are assessed.
"Educational inequality is constantly increasing, and unfortunately we can see a pattern here between those school managers who have prioritized investing in education and those who simply fulfill the minimum requirements as set out by law," Kallas said, adding that it's also not uncommon to see school managers making decisions based on the interests of their respective ruling coalitions, which can lead, as seen over the course of decades in certain parts of the country, to the quality of education lagging behind the rest of the country.
Editor: Aili Vahtla