Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on Tuesday met with the boards of the Estonian University of Life Sciences (EMÜ), University of Tartu (TÜ), Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) and Estonian National Defence College (KSK) while on a visit to the Southern Estonian university town of Tartu.
The prime minister was given an overview of the education and continued training provided to Estonian officers at KSK and BALTDEFCOL, according to a government press release.
"While a large number of specialties can be studied in institutions of higher education outside Estonia, the way of thinking that is necessary for the officers of small countries as well as such countries' principles of national defense can only be developed and delivered by ourselves," Ratas said. "This is what makes the role of the Estonian National Defence College and Baltic Defence College so unique. The professionalism of the members of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), however, is proof of a solid national defense education provided in Tartu."
According to the prime minister, the defense college is the flagship of defense cooperation in the Baltics and a superb example of how three countries have created a high-level international military education establishment by consolidating human and financial resources.
Ratas: R&D vital to economic growth
At the meeting with the boards of TÜ and EMÜ, participants discussed the state's contributions to the development of science-based higher education and ways of increasing public sector investments into research and development activities to the target level of one percent of Estonia's GDP.
Ratas stressed that research and development activities play a vital role in supporting Estonia's economic growth and increasing its productivity and competitiveness, which is why the Research and Development Council found during its most recent session that the financing of this field must be increased. At the same time, he continued, institutions of higher education and research must pay greater consideration to ensuring that their work corresponds to the practical needs of companies as well as society. It is crucial to facilitate cooperation between scientists and the business sector, he cited as an example.
The prime minister concluded his visit to Tartu with a public lecture at EMÜ titled "Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Our Future in the European Union."
Editor: Aili Vahtla