New coalition plans transition to Estonian language education in 2025

Lauri Läänemets, Mart Võrklaev and Priit Sibul
Lauri Läänemets, Mart Võrklaev and Priit Sibul Source: ERR

The transition to Estonian-language kindergarten education will take place in 2025, Reform, Isama and SDE agreed during coalition negotiations on Monday. A similar agreement for basic education is expected.

Reform whip Mart Võrklaev said the change will take place in the 2025/2026 school year.

"We will further specify the details in this area. In those regions and kindergartens where the transition may be more difficult, whether and to what extent to allow an exemption there," he told reporters.

Reform and Isamaa are keen to reach a similar agreement for basic education for the the2024/2025 academic year, but SDE want to agree on specific targets first. It is hoped an agreement can be reached on Tuesday, Võrklaev said.

Raising teachers' salaries and financial incentives will be offered to motivate teachers. Additional support will also be sent to help schools switch from Russian to Estonian.

The future of higher education was discussed by the parties. SDE chairman Lauri Läänemets said all three parties have a similar vision for the future of higher education funding.

"I think that not only the issue of funding for universities but also the issue of study grants is very important to resolve here," he said, adding lecturers' salaries should also increase.

The discussions also focused on energy and the upcoming winter.

It was agreed by all parties that some segments of the population will need extra financial help to deal with high energy bills. But no agreement has been reached on how to do this yet.

Reform wants a price cap for people on lower incomes, but Isamaa is proposing larger electricity market reforms. Võrklaev said his party does not agree with Isamaas's proposal and has offered compromises. Läänemets said SDE can see positives and negatives to both proposals.

Both Reform and SDE wondered if reforms could be enacted before winter. It is hoped an agreement can be reached tomorrow.

Võrklaev said the coalition also wants to speed up planning procedures for the construction of renewable energy capacities, such as solar parks and wind farms. 

The three parties have been negotiating a new coalition agreement for almost a week. It has been suggested an agreement could be reached by Midsummer's day, which is later this week.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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