University councils: Underfunding threatens Estonian democracy, security

Graduating students and loved ones at the University of Tartu (TÜ).
Graduating students and loved ones at the University of Tartu (TÜ). Source: Andres Tennus/University of Tartu

Members of the councils of Estonia's public universities issued a joint statement this week stressing the need and expectation for decision-makers to come up with a long-term plan for ensuring the sustainability of Estonian-language higher education.

"A state without higher education in their native language is not an independent state; an independent state without quality education will not last," the signees said in the statement according to a press release.

The statement aims to draw attention to the need to find a long-term solution to the ongoing issue of underfunding in higher education, highlighting the outdated system of student loans and study allowances, the issue of the competitiveness of university teaching staff salaries as well as the need for more private funding in higher education.

The undersigned propose increasing public investment in higher education to 1.5 percent of GDP to increase both the rate of study allowances and the number of students receiving allowances, ensure fair pay for teaching staff as well as create opportunities and incentives for businesses and individuals to invest in higher education.

The joint statement was signed by 53 council members from six public universities in Estonia, including the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA), the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater (EMTA), the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ), Tallinn University (TLÜ), Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech, TTÜ) and the University of Tartu (TÜ).

Click here to read university councils' joint statement in full.

University councils are respective universities' highest decision-making bodies, responsible for their development and budget as well as decisions regarding development priorities based on their respective long-term interests.

Council members include university representatives as well as representatives of the public and private sectors and foreign universities appointed by the Estonian Academy of Sciences (ETA) and the Ministry of Education and Research.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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