Tallinn high school principal in breach of language requirements resigns
Tallinn Linnamäe Russian High School (TLVL) principal Sergei Garanža, who for years has failed to pass requisite Estonian language proficiency testing, announced his resignation on Monday. He did not cite his reason for stepping down.
"I don't want to go into details or politics," Garanža told ERR's Russian-language online news portal on Monday. "I decided [to resign] and that was it."
Garanža has not yet submitted a formal written resignation, Tallinn Deputy Mayor for Education Vadim Belobrovtsev (Center) and Tallinn Education Department director Andre Pajula told ERR.
Nonetheless, Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) had already been aware of Garanža's plan to resign.
"We are grateful to Sergei Garanža for his years-long contribution to education," Kõlvart wrote in the municipal paper Stolitsa, the first source to report on Garanža's decision on Monday. "Sergei Nikolayevich managed to prepare more than one generation of students for our country who are now helping create our common future. It is a pity that a true professional, who has worked for many years for the benefit of the Estonian capital and raised several generations of dignified Estonian citizens, is resigning as principal."
According to the outgoing principal, he will be meeting with representatives of the Education Department, but he had already previously discussed his plan to resign with the mayor, and Kõlvart allegedly supported his decision.
"This was not as easy a decision as it may seem to some, but this is my conscious decision," Garanža said. "Will I change my mind? No, I don't throw my words around lightly."
He added that he had not yet informed the school's teaching staff of his decision.
Garanža has served as principal of Tallinn 64th High School, later renamed Tallinn Linnamäe Russian High School (Tallinna Linnamäe vene lütseum), since its founding in 1998. Since 2005, he has officially served in the capacity of acting principal.
He has been a routine target of criticism for not managing to pass the Estonian language proficiency exam at the C1 or advanced level, which is required for school principals in Estonia. Despite repeated calls from the opposition to fire him as principal, the Center Party-led Tallinn city government has refused to do so.
In 2016, Garanža was awarded the Tallinn Order of Merit "for his long-time leadership of a school."
He said he does not intend to continue working as a teacher, but also did not indicate exactly what he intends to do going forward.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Aili Vahtla