President Kersti Kaljulaid released Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) from office, while Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) has not named a new candidate yet. Members of the party's board said that Center is looking for the next education minister both inside the Riigikogu and out.
Secretary general Mihhail Korb said that a professional with political experience is sought. This does not rule out people from the private sector who understand how politics works, the "Aktuaalne kaamera" news program reported.
"We are first looking inside our own party. We have quite a few strong candidates," Korb said.
Member of the party's board Tõnis Mölder said that the PM will consult previous ministers. "He will be consulting with members of the current government and people with prior experience in the coming days."
In addition to Korb, better-known centrists who are not part of the government today include Kadri Simson, Tarmo Tamm, Martin Repinski and Janek Mäggi. The latter is working in the private sector. Korb refused to say whether the new minister would be picked from this lineout or whether it could be a municipal politician from the capital.
Korb also did not say whether Andrei Korobeinik, who will have to leave the Riigikogu to make room for Mailis Reps returning, could become education minister. The media is not aware of Korobeinik having higher education that Korb described as an important aspect for a minister.
Professor Margus Pedaste, head of the University of Tartu Pedagogicum, said there are plenty of education experts in Estonia. "I believe we could look for a candidate to transcend parties so to speak and someone from outside politics."
Mölder did not rule out the candidate coming from the outside. Professor Pedaste said that the new education minister will have to tackle several important tasks, such as the 2035 education strategy, Estonia having enough teachers and professors, research and development funding and creating a universal Estonian school system.
"So we could finally put to bed this Estonian versus Russian schools topic that has been manufacturing segregation in our society for decades. That is where universities and the ministry disagree today and we would very much like to see a minister willing to move forward in this matter," Pedaste said.
The professor said it would give all students equal opportunities in society irrespective of their linguistic and cultural background.
Editor: Marcus Turovski