Education minister: Hobby education should also be carried out in Estonian

Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa).
Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Minister of Education and Research Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) believes children's extracurricular education should also be carried out in Estonian as part of the newly passed education reform.

The transition to Estonian-language education, which will start next fall, so far has no clear rules, Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Ministry specialists have said Estonian language teaching can be limited to in-class teaching, but Lukas would like to extend it to hobby groups.

"As extracurricular activities also support learning activities, they must be [taught] in the Estonian language in schools. Everything that is carried out by schools must be in Estonian," said Lukas.

Head of the Ida-Viru County education cluster Kerda Eiert told AK it is important Estonian language is heard as often as possible outside the classroom and some Russian-language schools may need encouragement.

"We need to support schools by making the school environment even more Estonian-speaking. It is important that classes are in Estonian, but we also need to create an environment where young people can speak more Estonian," she said.

Several regulations need to be confirmed, such as which conditions Estonian-speaking teachers in Ida-Viru County need to meet to receive higher salaries.

At an information session introducing the transition, it was said this would take several months to confirm.

"It would be best if these answers could be written down very quickly, who is going to get this salary and whether it is linked to qualifications or not. Put these things in writing and then the worries will go away," said Eiert.

The minister said only teachers who have passed the C1 Estonian language exam will be paid a higher salary.

"There is also a language requirement for support specialists, who are also eligible for a salary supplement with a coefficient of 1.5," said Lukas.

Initially, the ministry planned to only apply the new salary rules to kindergartens and basic schools next fall, but it now is believed this can be extended to managers and support specialists.


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Editor: Aleksander Krjukov, Helen Wright

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