Tartu schools open additional classes for Ukrainian students

A classroom. Photo is illustrative.
A classroom. Photo is illustrative. Source: ERR

New classes for Ukrainian students will be opened in Tartu schools this autumn to deal with the influx of new students.

This September, up to 7,000 Ukrainian children are expected to start attending Estonian schools and 4,000 have already registered. The final number may end up being less as many children continue distance learning in Ukraine or hope to return home soon.

While Tallinn has opened a new building, Tartu schools are opening additional classes.

Kadi Toomi, head of general education at the Tartu City Government, said Ukrainian children can enroll in the same way Estonian children do.

"Those who arrived in the spring will start their studies according to the national curriculum, as much as possible. The Estonian language will be added and the language immersion methodology will be followed," she said.

The majority of Ukrainian children are studying in immersion schools that teach in Russian and Estonian, while the rest are already enrolled in Estonian schools. The number of Ukrainian children in a class is not regulated.

ERR spoke to the director of immersion school Tartu Annelinna High School, Hiie Asser, one of the biggest in the city, to ask about their plans for the next school year.

Asser said there are usually five Ukrainians in a class and they are being offered extra catch-up classes in the Estonian language.

The school starts its transition to Estonian language in seventh grade, but some new classes will be taught in Russian for the Ukrainian students in seventh and ninth grades.

A new class will also be opened in 10th grade designed for students who want to learn Estonian and graduate in three years.

The high school has not needed to hire many new teachers. "We have hired one Ukrainian language teacher," she said.

Toom said many Ukrainian teachers have contacted the council about finding a job.

Minister of Education and Science Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said the state will allocate additional funding for schools needing to open more classes. Currently, the limit allows 24 children to be taught in a class.

There are 162 Ukrainians have registered their interest to work as teachers or support staff.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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