Government supports minister's plan to partially restore school in May

Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus.
Classrooms in Estonia are currently empty as students learn online from home due to the spread of coronavirus. Source: Ministry of Education and Research

If the spread of the novel coronavirus recedes, members of the Estonian government support Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps' (Center) plan to gradually restore more relaxed studies in schools beginning May 15 and through the end of the current school year. High school entrance exams may still be held as well.

No basic school final exams will be held this year, and graduating high school seniors are expected to sit two state exams. Distance learning currently in force would remain in effect through May 15.

Reps emphasized that a prerequisite of the approved plan is the receding of the COVID-19 virus.

"When reorganizing their teaching, schools must take into account the fact that children should be in small groups, and all restrictions currently in force must be complied with," she said. "We will only allow children to go to school if it is completely safe for them. In addition to the children's safety, transport and school meals must also be figured out as well."

After May 15 and through the start of summer break, schools will be able to engage in more free-form student development, whether it be the development of communication, value-based, social and civic competences, individual development assessments and interviews, study days or similar.

The Ministry of Education and Research also recommends that schools monitor student progress and provide individual or small group tutoring, if needed. Schools can use self-assessment tests ad other non-graded options to assess student progress. These activities are to be organized by schools at their own discretion.

All major events, however, such as final field trips and ceremonies, must be canceled this school year.

Basic school exams canceled

There will be no 9th grade final exams this year, and students will graduate from basic school on the basis of their annual grades. Assessments may be numerical or on a pass-fail basis at the school's discretion. Diplomas will be issued to basic school graduates by mid-June.

High school entrance exams may be organized after May 15 in such a way that there are no more than ten people in a room at once and students are spread across several rooms in a school building.

Graduating 12th graders will have to sit two state exams — an Estonian language or Estonian as a second language exam and a math exam — in late May and early June. Consultations and exam prep will take place after May 15, and state exam results will be published on June 30.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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