Education minister: State examinations voluntary this academic year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian language state exam.
Estonian language state exam. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The government on Monday approved a proposal by the minister of education and research making high school final examinations voluntary rather than compulsory and making high school graduation possible without sitting said exams. No basic school examinations will take place this year.

Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps said: "We have discussed this issue in depth with parents, students, teachers and representatives of school managers, and reached a shared position, which was also supported unanimously in feedback from a round of approvals. It is important that students be given a choice in the present situation whether to take state examinations or not and whether to do it now or later. However, I call on all final-year students to take part in the exams as it may prove necessary for their future studies."

Final-year students who have signed up for this year's exams and wish to take them at the end of the 2019/2020 academic year, can take their Estonian language or Estonian as a second language exam as well as examinations in mathematics and one foreign language. The exams are held at the end of May and in early June and results will be delivered by June 30.

The Estonian language examination will take place on May 29. The written examination in Estonian as a second language will be held on June 1 and the speaking test from June 1 to 3. The mathematics exam will take place on June 5.

As to internationally recognized language examinations, the Goethe-Zertifikat B1 and B2 level examinations in German will be held from June 8 to 11; the Cambridge Assessment English C1 Advanced examination from June 12 to 22. No international exams in French and Russian will take place in June. The Innove Foundation will relay additional information regarding exam dates and times to students who have signed up for the examinations.

Additional state exams for those who did not take theirs in spring or are unhappy with their results can be taken in the first half of the 2020/2021 academic year. 

State examinations will be organized in compliance with public health requirements and restrictions. Detailed instructions will be relayed to schools by the Innove Foundation.

It is possible this year to graduate from high school with school stage grades that are at least "satisfactory" or "pass." Carrying out a study project or practical work or taking school exams are not prerequisites for graduation.

The school's teachers' council will have the right to assess if the said tasks can be performed in the emergency situation and they do not have to be done if the teachers' council decides that it is not possible due to the emergency situation.

No basic school examinations will be held this year.

Students who wish to sit their examination in Estonian as a second language in order to obtain proof of language proficiency will be able to do so. For graduation from basic school in the academic year 2019/2020, year grades must be at least satisfactory or pass. Creative work is not a prerequisite for graduation from basic school, and the teachers' council will assess if it is possible in the emergency situation. 

Government adopts rules for school graduation

The government in an e-sitting on Monday adopted a regulation that imposes regulations for basic school and high school graduation and grading for the academic years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. 

The regulation says that, in general, the usual mandatory graduation exams shall not take place upon basic school and high school graduation in the academic year 2019/2020. 

State examinations must be taken if the student is planning to continue their studies in a specialty where that is required. For instance, at the University of Tartu and at Tallinn University the results of state examinations are a prerequisite for enrollment into most bachelor's and integrated study programs.

It is possible this year to graduate from high school also with school stage grades that are at least "satisfactory" or "pass."

For graduation from basic school in the academic year 2019/2020, year grades must be at least satisfactory or pass, whereas upon the decision of the teachers' council certificates can be assigned also to students whose last year grade in up to two subjects was "poor" or "weak."

In the next academic year, examinations in the Estonian language, mathematics, and one examination chosen by the student must be passed at least with a satisfactory result. Usual requirements will apply to the last year grades in individual subjects. 

For graduation from high school, school stage grades must be at least satisfactory and state examinations must be taken in the Estonian language or Estonian as second language, mathematics and a foreign language, along with the school exam. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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