Government to decide future location of security sciences academy

The academy's campus in Tallinn. Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

A joint work group of the ministries of justice and the interior did not come to an agreement concerning the potential moving of the Estonian Academy of Security sciences from its current location in Tallinn to Narva. The government will discuss the matter and decide later this month.

The group published its final report on the potential moving of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences to Ida Viru County, which report outlines the cost as well as issues of security and quality of instruction.

While the Ministry of Justice supports moving the full academy to Narva, the Ministry of the Interior does not. This matters, as the academy falls into the jurisdiction of the latter.

The work group’s report specifies that the move would create the needed resources for 400 full-time as well as another 300 long-distance students or cadets. They would be taught by 133 instructors, 45 of which would be employed locally, while 175 would join the academy part-time.

Building the campus in Narva would cost some €53.3 million, of which €34 million would still need to be covered after selling off the academy’s buildings in Tallinn. The cheapest option would be to build the new campus on four plots along Narva’s Puškini Street that currently belong to the city council. The earliest possible time for the new campus to start working would be the spring semester in 2022.

Increased transportation costs and other expenses related to location would bring with them costs of another €2.2 million a year, the work group stated.

The move would have a negative impact on the academy’s quality of instruction, as it would be difficult to motivate its best teachers to stay on, the report states, adding that instructors could be expected to leave before the move already. At the same time, finding qualified staff in Narva could prove difficult. The report also points out that there is no previous experience in Estonia with moving a whole academy from one region of the country to another.

The report also points to security risks like Russian intelligence potentially forcing officials into working with them by threatening them with the publication of embarrassing details about their lives, and Russia’s prowess when it comes to breaking into IT systems, though these would apply in the case of the academy remaining in Tallinn as well.

The Ministry of Justice does not agree with the report’s conclusions, and insists that the move is important for the integration of Ida Viru County, and the improvement of local conditions and quality of life. In the ministry’s opinion, the initial costs of setting up the school there didn’t diverge much from what maintaining the Tallinn campus would cost.

The ministry also stressed that they would be happy to run the project, even though the academy would remain within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. The only area where changes would be made would be in the administration of the real estate involved.

According to spokeswoman Riina Solman, the two ministries haven’t been able to reach a consensus in the matter.

As the two ministries involved couldn’t agree on a solution, the government will have to make the decision. The debate of the issue is scheduled for the second half of the month.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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