On 3 September, Mustvee's Estonian- and Russian-language schools will hold a joint first day of school ceremony, marking the first step toward a gradual merging of the two schools, reported weekly Maaleht.
The population of the town of Mustvee, located on the western coast of Lake Peipus, is almost equally half Estonian-speaking and half Russian-speaking.
"If we want to ensure that high school education continues to be offered in Mustvee, our only option is to merge the schools," said Arne Piirimärgi, now the director of both schools. While the town has a population of 1,300, the two schools combined have a student body of just under 250.
"Maintaining two large school buildings in Mustvee isn't sensible or affordable for the municipality," said Mustvee municipal mayor Jüri Morozov; the municipality has a total population of 5,600.
Morozov stressed that the two schools hiring a single new director is the first big step toward establishing a new school that will not distinguish between language and ethnicity. Many of the two schools' teachers already work at both institutions.
He added that a location for the future school building has already been chosen near the new town square.
Piirimägi has previously served as director of schools in Kiviõli, worked as a lecturer and teaching staff at both the University of Tartu and the university's Narva College, and worked as an education specialist both at the Ministry of Education and Research as well as for the Ida-Viru County Government.
Editor: Aili Vahtla