Mayor: Tallinn is not against transition to Estonian-language education

The refugee reception center in Tallinn's Kalamaja.
The refugee reception center in Tallinn's Kalamaja. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) on Thursday denied the city government is against the transition to Estonian-language education.

The city has familiarized itself with the government's draft reforms, he said in response to a question from Reform Party member Sander Andla at a session dedicated to discussing how the process is going in Tallinn.

Kõlvart said Andla's assessment that the city was against the transition was inaccurate.

"Over the years, Tallinn has done a lot to provide children and teachers with opportunities to learn the language," the mayor said.

"We have also contributed and participated in various projects, be it language immersion, etc. We have done everything we can to support Estonian-language education."

The city government has also offered free opportunities to teachers who want to increase their level of Estonian, he said.

But, the mayor said the content and preparation for the transition is mainly a task for teachers.

Kõlvart also highlighted data from the draft bill that shows 2,000 teachers across Estonia do not need the new language requirements, additionally, 3,000 are close to retirement age. Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) has also said 700 more teachers are needed.

"The minister said that 4,000 teachers would be needed by 2030. The current system prepares 30-40 teachers a year," Kõlvart said.

On Thursday, Isamaa said it wants the language transition policy added to Tallinn's 2035 strategy, which lays out the capital's development plan until that date.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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