A notable part of Kohtla-Järve students prefer other schools in the county to the state high school. 40 percent of the high school students in Kohtla-Järve study at the Sillamäe high school, 30 kilometers away, while Kohtla-Järve city authorities are accusing the institution of trying to create an elite, Estonian-language school, one which regular students cannot get into.
Two years ago, more than 300 students started their studies in the Kohtla-Järve state high school. That number has dwindled down to about half now. But at the same time, more than 100 high school students drive 30 km to study at the Sillamäe high school, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday.
The Kohtla-Järve city authorities consider this situation abnormal. "If we had many high schools here in Kohtla-Järve, one of them could be an elite high school, where only students with good results, who have studied in Estonian all the way, get into. But there is just one high school and the city is paying €120,000 of its budget to another municipality government, because our high school did not accept these students," said Kohtla-Järve mayor Ljudmila Jantšenko.
Around 80 percent of Kohtla-Järve's residents speak Russian as their native tongue.
"The state built a new high school and it only has half of the students it can have. It is a waste of state resources," she added.
The state high school rejects the city's accusations and points to the choice of students and the study quality of basic schools. "It is up to the students to choose a school. Students from Russian basic schools, whose native language is Russian and who have studied in Russian and graduated in Russian, are likely to be more comfortable continuing in Russian. But our school works completely based on an Estonian curriculum," said Kohtla-Järve high school director Hendrik Agur.
The director pointed to the local municipality government. "The local government must look in the mirror to see what kind of level the students graduate basic school, what do they know in Estonian, but also sciences," Agur said.
The state high school offered some 100 children a chance to learn, half of which ended up making the decision for Sillamäe high school.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste