Education minister: New school for Ukrainians likely needed in Tallinn

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna.
Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna. Source: ERR

The state will probably have to create a new school for the children of Ukrainian war refugees where 40 percent of studies would be in Ukrainian and 60 percent in Estonia, Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) said on the "Esimene stuudio" talk show on Sunday.

By Sunday, 7,600 minors had reached Estonia as war refugees from Ukraine of whom 200 were infants, 2,000 preschoolers, 100 highschoolers and the rest basic-school-age, Kersna said based on Police and Border Guard (PPA) data.

Kersna said that Estonia has 3,000 kindergarten places of which around 1,000 are in Tallinn. We have more vacancies on the basic school level, while most of the refugees have arrived in Tallinn and we only have a few hundred places left here. "Tallinn has said they have received 2,500 underage refugees, while the capital's general education schools only had 2,800 vacancies between them," Kersna said.

"It is likely that we will have to create a separate state school in Tallinn. I believe that instead of being a Ukrainian school, it will be a language immersion school where roughly 40 percent of studies would be in Ukrainian and 60 percent in Estonian," the minister said.

Kersna went on to say that the Ukrainian education ministry has created a thorough remote learning environment so children could continue their studies from a distance. It is equally important for Ukrainian children to learn Estonian as soon as possible, the minister added.

"The important thing is for the kids who have come here to quickly learn Estonian so they could share in what we have to offer during their time here, if only in terms of going to the theater."

Kersna said that half of children of Ukrainian refugees who have been registered in the education information system have enrolled in Estonian-language schools.

"We have 30 percent in language immersion schools and 20 percent in Russian-speaking schools," she remarked.

"We have been clear in our communication, based on the request of the Ukrainian community and the recommendations of security services, that the children of war refugees should be placed in the Estonian-speaking part of the education system," Kersna added.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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