Center joining EKRE no-confidence motion against Liina Kersna

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform).
Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Center Party parliamentary group announced on Monday that it is joining the opposition Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) in submitting a motion of no confidence against Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform). The no-confidence motion will be submitted on Tuesday.

Center Party spokesperson Andres Kalvik told ERR on Monday that the text of the motion is still currently in the works.

According to Center whip Jaanus Karilaid, Liina Kersna has failed in her actions.

"Several concerns and omissions have emerged in Liina Kersna's area of administration that have been festering for a long time and for which solutions have been unable to be provided," Karilaid said regarding the education minister.

"We are of the position that in organizing the procurement for rapid [COVID-19] tests, the minister violated the requirements of the Public Procurement Act and caused millions of euros' worth of economic damages to the state," he continued. "There have been long-standing issues with the funding of higher education institutions, and administrative agreements remain unsigned over the stalemate. This jeopardizes the sustainability of higher education in its entirety. The minister has not made any decisive efforts on this front."

According to the party whip, the Center Party supports the strengthening of the teaching of the Estonian language in schools and kindergartens alike, however it is the current minister who has terminated several initiatives that had received positive feedback.

Karilaid noted that in 2018, then-education minister and party mate Mailis Reps had launched the pilot project "Professional Estonian-language teacher in a Russian-speaking group," which to date had been joined by 40 kindergartens in nine different local governments.

"Through this program, more than 300 Estonian-language teachers have been hired to work in Russian-language kindergartens," he said.

In fall 2020, the project was expanded to include schools as well, and 20 Estonian-language teachers started work in the 1st and 2nd grade classes in Estonian- or Russian-language schools that included ten or more children with native languages other than Estonian, he continued, noting that 40 teachers were recruited in the span of two years.

"The last education minister to hire new teachers with these projects was Centrist Jaak Aab," the party whip said. "Despite her big words and promises, Reform Party minister Liina Kersna has not hired any additional new Estonian-language teachers at schools or kindergartens."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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