Tallinn city government has decided to forward to the city council a bill that would allow three Russian-language high schools in the capital to embark on a pilot program that would exempt them from the requirement to teach 60 percent of subjects in Estonian.
Within the framework of the pilot program, schools would be able to provide quality education in individual subjects by choosing the language of instruction as well as raise the Estonian language proficiency level of high school graduates to C1 — described as effective operational proficiency — within six years, city government spokespeople told BNS.
Tallinn deputy mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) said that the main goal of the pilot program is to teach individual subjects on a good level and improve high school students' level of command of the Estonian language in the next few years.
"Currently, education in Russian-language high schools gives students a proficiency level of B2 in Estonian, which is not enough to continue their education in Estonian universities," Kõlvart admitted. "With the pilot project to be carried out in three schools, we wish to raise the level of proficiency in Estonian in such a way that the quality of teaching of individual subjects would not suffer. We wish to begin with the program in September of this year already."
Within the framework of the program, the schools would devise a plan for extracurricular activities supporting the teaching of the Estonian language that would create practical opportunities for students to use the language; measures planned include student exchanges, language cafés and camps. Activities would simultaneously be organized for parents in order to involve them in developing their children's language skills, such as by discussing the role of parents as supporters of the study process and the principles of cooperation between home and school in the intensive learning of a second language.
Under the proposed plan, students' language proficiency levels would be constantly monitored by the schools themselves, who would provide immediate feedback to students, parents and teachers.
Support for learning Estonian would also be provided to the schools' staff as well.
The schools interested in participating in teh flexible language learning pilot program are Tallinn Linnamäe Russian Lyceum, Kesklinn Russian High School and Lasnamäe High School. The city expects the government to provide each of these schools €250,000 in special funding per year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla