In connection with sanctions imposed on Russia over its continued attacks on Ukraine, high school seniors in Estonia will not be able to take the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language (TORFL) this spring, which at the B1 and B2 levels are recognized as the equivalent of a state foreign language exam. One foreign language exam is a requirement for graduating high school.
In response to Russia's continued attacks on Ukraine and in accordance with sanctions imposed by EU member states, the Estonian state is suspending its cooperation agreement with the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, the Ministry of Education and Research said in a press release on Monday. As a result, high school seniors will not be able to take the TORFL this spring, which is counted as the equivalent of a state foreign language exam.
According to Aimi Püüa, director of the Testing and Evaluation Department at the Education and Youth Board, this decision will affect those high school seniors who wanted to earn an internationally recognized certificate of proficiency in Russian at the B1 or B2 level.
"Students who have registered for the exams will be offered the opportunity to take the English or German language state exams or the B1-level Russian language state exam," Püüa said.
The B1-level Russian language state exam will not grant the student an international certificate certifying their language skills, but it will fulfill the graduation requirement of a foreign language state exam. "Students can also waive the exam if they want and they do not need it to graduate," the official added.
As of January 20, 310 people had registered for the TORFL, up to 200 of whom may want to take the B1-level Russian as a foreign language state exam instead. The remaining registrants are either also scheduled to take the English language state exam or are either 11th graders or graduating trade school students for whom passing a Russian language exam is not a graduation requirement.
The board is informing schools and registrants to the TORFL directly of the change, and will inform them of what alternative options are available to them as well.
The Education and Youth Board has organized the TORFL at the B1 and B2 levels in cooperation with the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia since 2014.
The TORFL is in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), an international standard for language proficiency.
An average of 200-300 people take the TORFL in Estonia each year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla