Funding will support 400 more student-teachers in Tallinn, Tartu this year

An Estonian-language teacher at work.
An Estonian-language teacher at work. Source: Ministry of Education and Research

The University of Tartu (TÜ) and Tallinn University (TLÜ) are being allocated additional funding this year which will allow them to accept over 400 more student-teachers, plus support specialists, this year. The move is being made in part to boost Estonian-language teaching capabilities.

A total of €488,000 is being allocated both to the TÜ and to TLÜ, to allow them to provide additional support in improving teacher training students' Estonian language skills.

The Ministry of Education and Research co-signed the funding agreements for 2023, together with Estonia's public universities.

The aim of simultaneously increasing the number of study places and strengthening teacher training is to support the transition to Estonian-language learning, the ministry says.

Minister of Education Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) said: "The need for teachers will gradually increase from a transition perspective, as this transition will begin in 2024 in grades 1 and 4 only. Of course, a faster transition where possible is also commendable."

"Targeted scholarships are also planned for those who start studying to support their studies and graduation. When they start working, they can also apply for a starting grant to facilitate their living arrangements. In the near future, I will also confirm the exact conditions and procedure under which teachers teaching Estonian in Ida-Viru County will get higher levels of remuneration," he went on.

Lukas said that the key people in the transition to full Estonian-language learning are teachers, and the preparation of teachers is central to the ministry's respective action plan.

In addition, the state will finance the creation of at least 442 study places in the teacher training specialty, special pedagogy and school psychology, with an additional €8 million being allocated to universities to this end.

At least 287 of these additional study places will be created at the University of Tartu; at least 155 at Tallinn University, the ministry says.

When admitting additional students, priorities include the Estonian language teacher specialty, including Estonian as a second language, teachers of natural and precise sciences, including mathematics, and class teachers.

The state is also allocating €331,000 to the Universities of Tartu and Tallinn for the expansion of the activities of a support program which will see up to three groups of beginning teachers and one additional mentoring training group starting up in Ida-Viru County.

The role of universities is also important in carrying out the shorter-term studies necessary for the rapid transfer to schools of teachers who have previously studied as teachers or are partly qualified, the ministry adds.

There are six public universities in Estonia, and the annual funding noted above pertains to all of them.

The operating grant for higher education for 2023 stands at €174 million, while, together with institutions of professional higher education, the total amount of operating support for higher education in 2023 stands at €201 million, the education ministry says.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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