Ukrainian refugee teachers finding work in Estonian schools

A school classroom in Estonia (photo is illustrative).
A school classroom in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: ERR

Close to 350 of the people arriving in Estonia after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine had worked in the education sector, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Saturday.

Many of these have already found employment in schools in Estonia, AK reported, and will teach Ukrainian children who have also arrived as refugees.

Andres Pajula, the head of the board of education in Tallinn (Tallinna haridusamet), told AK that schools in the capital had already expressed an interest in hiring arrivals with a background as educators, and day schools were being set up both for them and the arriving children.

He said: "As of now, 14 day schools are set up, 14 schools have been interested in taking on teachers, and by next Wednesday all the remaining schools must be ready to provide day-school services."

One of those arrivals is Victoria, from Ukraine, who from Monday will be starting work at the Pääsküla school in Tallinn.

Victoria said: "I had two jobs in Ukraine, I was a teacher of biology, chemistry and geography, and I was also radio and television presenter," adding that for the most part she will be involved in teaching her specialist topics, in Ukrainian.

"But it's mostly about adapting to society, because unfortunately we don't know when all this will end," Victoria went on.

Around a dozen 8-14-year-olds will be awaiting Victoria next week at the school, AK reported.

School principal Leena Saag told AK that: "She immediately connected with everyone. The trust was evident, and certainly that of their parents, as she is one of those fled the war."

Victoria said that the school had also been supportive in helping both her and refugee children adjust after their trauma.

Most of the arrivals who had a background in education were now in Tallinn, the Ministry of Education said, with a total of 235 general education teachers and 76 kindergarten teachers making up their numbers.

The remaining 32 Ukrainian teachers are elsewhere in Estonia, and the ministry says it does not yet have an overview on their employment status.

19,628 people fleeing the war in Ukraine had arrived in Estonia, authorities said on Saturday morning.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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