Several Tallinn high schools open up for additional applications

Students at a high school in Tallinn (Järveotsa Gümnaasium in this case).
Students at a high school in Tallinn (Järveotsa Gümnaasium in this case). Source: Triin Lepp

While the school summer holidays still have several weeks to go, high schools in Tallinn are taking on additional admissions from potential tenth graders, due both the a rise in numbers of applications and greater capacity thanks to new state high schools in the capital.

ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Friday that at least six schools in Tallinn are taking on such additional admissions, for the 2023-2024 academic year, at present.

According to the Tallinn education board (Tallinna haridusamet), it is not clear how many schools are doing this in August as well, meaning this figure may vary.

A major part of the reason behind the additional crammer classes is that junior high (Põhikool, often referred to as basic school) graduates are tussling for high school (Gümnaasium) places.

Krista Keedus, head of the board's education organization department, told AK that: "This certainly gives the opportunity to any young person who perhaps thought one way at the beginning of the academic year, but now wants to take a slightly different rote, or whose basic school graduation results have altered their situation somewhat."

Each summer, ninth graders, ie. basic school leavers, go through the same process, trying to find a high school that suits them best.

In Tallinn, this can create an uneven situation, with some schools seeing a glut of prospective students, while others experience a shortage. In the latter case, this may mean scaling down the number of classes planned for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Director of one high school, the Mustamäe Gümnaasium, told AK that: "Should it turn out that fewer students than expected enroll, and this remains the situation at the end of August, then we will start studies in the 10th grade, but not with three parallel classes, with two, instead.

"At the moment, however, there are signs of reasons to be optimistic," the school's director, Marika Randma, continued.

The school organized an additional competitive process for 10th grade applications, to attempt to fill three classes.

Krista Keedu said thee opening of new state high schools (Riigigümnaasium) in the capital increases the need for schools to organize additional selection processes. 

It is also still open whether any of these high schools will be re-purposed as basic schools, due to a lack of numbers.

"Since the state high schools are just starting up, we will see how this year's process goes, and make decisions then, rather when the school year has started," Keedus went on.

On Thursday alone, seven young people applied to Mustamäe Gümnaasium.

Meanwhile the Jakob Westholm School says it is keeping open its additional admissions to August 22, a week-and-a-half before the new school year starts.

School director Rando Kuustik said the desire was to give the opportunity to students who did not manage to get into school at the first attempt, to have another chance.

The Ministry of Education is planning to move the basic school final exams to a time ahead of the high school entrance exams, though this is not finalized yet.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Katre Roomets.

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