Lukas: 'Non-Estonian speakers should feel like full members of society'

Tõnis Lukas.
Tõnis Lukas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa), speaking at the University of Tartu during the opening ceremony of the academic year, Lukas said he had two great hopes for the year ahead. First, that Ukraine would win the war, and second, that the coronavirus would not disrupt academic life. Lukas also said it was important to ensure that people with different first languages, who live in Estonia could feel like full members of Estonian society.

"This year, there will be around 158,000 more students starting the school year in Estonia than last year. At the same time, we have fewer first-graders, about 14,000. Last year we had approximately 26,000 vocational students, and the numbers for this year will be known soon. In higher education, we have nearly 45,000 students," explained Lukas.

Lukas believes that parents can do a lot to make sure their children enjoy and perform well at school." To make sure that everything runs smoothly, that they don't get exhausted by smartphone addiction or just lack of sleep. If there is care at home, school is much easier. It's also easier for teachers to maintain enthusiasm for their work," said Lukas.

Lukas pledged that, as minister of education and research, he would work to ensure not only that the content of academic curricula contributes to student development, but also to the cohesion of society as a whole.

"(I will work) in order to preserve the Estonian nation, language and culture, as is laid out in the Constitution. So that people of other languages who live here in Estonia can also feel that they are full members of Estonian society. So future generations will be healthy and happy, and so that teachers and lecturers also feel valued, both in terms of pay and working conditions. That the workload is sufficient, but not too heavy, and that their jobs provide them with fulfillment and opportunities for development," said Lukas.

"The academic year is about to begin, and we have two great hopes, which are different from those we usually have at this time," said Lukas. "We hope that Ukraine will win the war and drive the aggressor out of its territory, and we hope that the coronavirus will no longer cause disruption. We can contribute on both fronts through our everyday actions, by supporting Ukraine with what it needs, preparing the children of war refugees for their lives, and by acting with consideration towards other people's health, as well as own," he added.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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