Minister: Effectiveness of teaching in Estonian to be measured with tests

Kristina Kallas.
Kristina Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Students of schools that will soon be switched to teaching only in Estonian will have to take mandatory level-determining tests in four different subjects through which the ministry aims to gauge the ability of schools to teach in the official language, Minister of Education Kristina Kallas said at the government press conference Thursday.

"We have completed two major activities necessary for the switch to teaching in Estonian. We want the 73 schools to be switched to teaching in Estonian to provide seven-year activity plans showing which teachers they already have and which they still need in order to offer every subject in Estonian," Kallas said.

"We have also introduced a wider-scope evaluation system for those 73 schools where they will have to organize mandatory standard-determining tests. They will have to have their students take these tests in grades four, seven and nine so we can get an overview of their results in mathematics, natural history, Estonian and Russian as a first language. We are not just measuring whether the child speaks Estonian and the teacher teaches in Estonian but also whether the student is able to learn mathematics," the education minister revealed.

Kallas added that the goal is not to punish schools and that the ministry wants to make sure academic performance does not suffer as a result of switching to a different main study language.

The Riigikogu in mid-December passed legislation to switch schools in Estonia to teaching all subjects fully in Estonian. The law provides that schools and preschool educational institutions have to teach in Estonian. The first to switch to teaching in Estonian are kindergartens and basic school grades one through four, starting in the 2024/2025 academic year.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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