The sums local governments pay for schooling a single student can differ up to six times. While it costs €22,000 to fund a student place on the small island of Ruhnu, this drops to under €4,000 in the city of Narva.
The average cost of a general education school student place was €5,092 in the previous schoolyear, while these sums differ greatly from one local government to the next, being generally smaller in cities and bigger in rural areas.
Piret Sapp, adviser of local government cooperation and the schools network for the Ministry of Education and Research, told ERR that the ministry keeps tabs on the cost of a student place, with the most recent data covering the 2021/2022 schoolyear.
The ministry's data suggests it is most expensive to school children on the island of Ruhnu, with a single study place running the local government €22,251. Next comes Vormsi Municipality, another small island, while its study place cost of €13,150 is considerably lower compared to Ruhnu. The cost of educating a child on the island of Kihnu is €10,260.
The sums in question include general education costs but also auxiliary services like school food, transport, boarding facilities and amortization. The ministry does not keep an account of the study place cost of individual schools and only looks at the municipality average.
"The state does not dictate to local governments how many schools they need to operate and where. Those decisions are up to them," Sapp explained.
Leaving the small islands, Rõuge Municipality pays €9,767 per student place, followed by Alutaguse Municipality at €9,340.
Rakvere Municipality, the city of Narva-Jõesuu and the Peipsiääre Municipality also pay in excess of €9,000 per student.
The cost of a student place was lowest in the city of Narva where it took just €3,796. Next came the capital Tallinn with €4,048 per student and the city of Rakvere on €4,066. It cost under €4,500 to school a student also in the cities of Viljandi, Võru and Tartu.
Editor: Marcus Turovski