Draft law to allow Estonian schools to unenroll children themselves

Ukrainian schoolchildren.
Ukrainian schoolchildren. Source: ERR

The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research wants to amend the Law on Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools to enable educational institutions to unenroll pupils from their class registers. The amendment is motivated cases involving some Ukrainian families, who have left Estonia without informing schools of their departure.

On Monday, the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research sent a draft amendment to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act to the Riigikogu for approval.

"While. as a general rule, a student is admitted to, or unenrolled from a school on the basis of a decision made by the school's principle or a request from the child's parents, in practice there have been many cases in which persons who have arrived in Estonia from Ukraine, subsequently leave Estonia without informing the school or the school's headmaster in advance," a representative of the ministry wrote in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the amendment.

"At the same time, the current regulation does not allow the school to unenroll a child from the list of pupils even though he or she no longer participates in educational activities."

The memo then said, that in order for schools to have the legal right to unenroll pupils in such cases, it must be provided for in Section 28(1) of the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act.

The ministry considers that it is also necessary to make a similar amendment to the Preschool Child Care Institutions Act.

"Presumably, a lot of families who arrived from abroad and have since left [Estonia] have children of both school and pre-school age. It may also be a problem if children who have left the country remain on the lists of pre-school institutions. As many local authorities are finding it difficult to provide nursery places for local children as well, we cannot allow [the continuation of] a practice, which further reduces access to nursery places," the explanatory memorandum accompanying the proposed amendment says.

Statistics: 8,481 Ukrainian children in Estonian schools

In September last year, 5,879 Ukrainian children and young people were registered in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS). On February 27 this year, that number had increased to 8,481.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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