Thousands of Ukrainian children to attend Estonian schools this fall

A separate study site called Freedom School (Vabaduse Kool in Estonian and Школа Cвободи in Ukrainian) created at the Tallinn Tõnismae State High School and launched on 1 September 2022.
A separate study site called Freedom School (Vabaduse Kool in Estonian and Школа Cвободи in Ukrainian) created at the Tallinn Tõnismae State High School and launched on 1 September 2022. Source: The Ministry of Education and Research

There are approximately 3,500 Ukrainian pupils registered in Estonian schools, with approximately 600 attending the Freedom School (Vabaduse Kool) in Tallinn.

This fall, thousands of Ukrainian youngsters enroll in Estonian schools.

Liina Põld, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Education and Research, said that over 7,000 Ukrainian children in Estonia are required to attend school but only about 3,500 of them are now registered.

"We are aware that these children have been granted temporary protection, which means they are registered with us, but we are not aware of the specifics, as in which municipalities they live and reside," Põld said.

Põld said there is still time for briefings and for information to be shared on which institutions are still accepting students.

The majority of Ukrainian students reside in Harju County. The city of Tallinn established a school for Ukrainian children as a branch of the Lilleküla High School last spring, where approximately 450 students begin their studies this fall.

In addition, the state will open the Freedom School (Vabaduse Kool) in Tallinn for Ukrainian pupils in seventh through twelfth grades this September.

The new Freedom School on Endla tänav is undergoing renovations at the moment, but in less than a month it will house about 600 Ukrainian youngsters.

The director of education at Freedom School, Olga Selištševa, said that creating a large school in a short period of time is a difficult task, and although half of the teachers are still missing, classes will surely begin on September 1.

"Teacher recruitment is a major issue in Estonia right now, and it has a significant impact on us as well. We deal with recruitment on a daily basis; for example, seven interviews were conducted yesterday," Selištševa said.

Freedom school will implement language immersion method, which means that classes will be taught in both Estonian and Ukrainian languages.

Polina Kornienko, who previously worked as a history teacher in Kharkiv is looking forward to the start of the school year in her new position.

"First impressions are entirely positive; there is much innovation and progress. I have a lot to learn from my coworkers, and I enjoy working in the new team," Kornienko said.  

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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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