Minister of Education uses school renovation funds for budgetary cuts

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

Minister of Education Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) said, en route to Vihula for budget negotiations, that the Ministry of Education's contribution to the state budget cuts is €5 million, the greater part of this amount will be taken from the renovation fund for state schools, resulting in the cancellation of some repairs.

Five million euros were found for cuts in the administration of the ministry of education, of which €3.4 million will be taken from the fund for the renovation of state institutions, Kallas told ERR.

"We will have to forego certain repairs, resulting in further infrastructure deterioration," she said.

The state owns 70 schools, 20 of which are state high schools for grades 10 through 12; the remainder are vocational schools and schools for children with special needs.

Kallas said that the Ministry of Education is pursuing budget cuts at a time when significantly more funds are required for the nationwide transition to teaching only in Estonian in schools that still teach in Russian as well and for increasing teacher remuneration.

There is a shortfall of €27 million for next year's transition to teaching only in Estonian in schools and kindergartens that presently teach predominantly in Russian. According to Kallas, such a cut in the education sector is impossible, Kallas said.

"I don't feel that I should be responsible for the €27 million; this action plan was adopted by the previous government," Kallas said.

A 2 percent pay rise for teachers has been planned, but Kallas says this is clearly not enough. "The national average salary rises even more, so the ratio of teachers' average salaries to the national average will decline again. We also have to increase the minimum wage," she said.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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