Estonia's Education Ministry reduces foreign-language info on homepage

Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa).
Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa). Source: Ministry of Education and Research

Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) announced Tuesday that his ministry is reducing the amount of foreign-language content on its homepage, citing foreigners' convenience in undermining their motivation to learn Estonian.

"The Ministry of Education and Research reduced the volume of information translated into other languages on its homepage," Lukas wrote on Facebook. "We hear 'praise' about Estonia that it's easily possible to get by here with Russian and English as well. That's a double-edged sword! Many people who arrive here thus don't believe there's any reason to learn the Estonian language."

The education minister said that information primarily regarding crises, such as COVID-19 and information meant for war refugees from Ukraine, will remain available in several languages.

"Going forward, other permanent info will only be available in Estonian," Lukas said.

"I'll now be watching with interest to see what the rest of the public sector will do..." he added.

Government Communication Director Rasmus Ruuda, however, finds that all necessary info should be accessible to all target audiences, including foreign cooperation partners.

"While every ministry has the right to decide for themselves which channels and languages it uses to reach people, it would be inconceivable for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for example, to communicate exclusively in Estonian," Ruuda told ERR.

"Current general practice has been that important information is available on governmental authorities' websites first and foremost in Estonian and English, but also in Russian if necessary," Ruuda explained. "With Russia's aggression in Ukraine, we've also implemented Ukrainian-language communications for war refugees."

According to Ruuda, the Estonian state has set a target of increasing societal resilience.

"The state must ensure the distribution of factually correct information in society at large," the government communication director said. "Lies about Estonian state agencies are typically initiated in Russian and English."


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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