Teachers' stipend to rise to €400 from next academic year
From the start of the next academic year, stipends given to students studying for the teaching profession, many of whom also work alongside their studies, will rise, from €160 to €400, the Ministry of Education says.
The amount of people eligible for this support will also widen.
The coalition government has drawn up a new subsidy aimed at addressing teacher shortages, and, starting this coming fall, students who are studying to become teachers will receive an additional stipend of €400.
The allocation of stipends as a total of all students in a given area of teaching will vary, depending on the specialty, with in-demand subjects being granted a larger proportion.
Minister of Education Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) said: "We still need to vector this money toward the next generation of teachers, where we have a very critical situation.
"In principle, all will receive it, but in terms of percentage, more students will get it who are studying those curricula where there is the biggest shortage of teachers."
Kristi Klaasmägi, Tallinn University's (TLÜ) vice-rector for educational innovation, says she hopes that the stipend will allow those studying to become teachers to deepen their studies, while working in parallel.
"After all, the vast majority of students work in conjunction with their studies, and in the case of teaching qualifications, many are already working as teachers. As we have over 2,000 unqualified teachers in schools today, the biggest challenge is how to make this qualification acquisition flexible enough for them to be able to attain it."
Klaasmägi did, however, identify one discrepancy at this early stage which might need addressing later. "This is a small concern for us too, where the salary of a lecturer at a university nowadays, if we now add the salary of a school teacher plus the stipend, will actually be lower than that of the teacher."
The range of those who may, or already do, qualify for stipends stretches from around 20 percent in the case of kindergarten teachers, to 60 percent in some other specialties, or even 80+ percent for math and IT teachers, Minister Kallas reported.
The state will require €1.28 million this year, and €4.4 million next year, to cover the costs of the support.
A special additional stipend of €160 will be granted to around 100 students.
The funding is provided to the universities, to be distributed in turn to the students.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja
Source: ERR Radio News