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Reps: Digital development a priority for upcoming school year

Education minister Mailis Reps
Education minister Mailis Reps Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

There will be a strong emphasis on digital development in the upcoming school year, Minister for Education and Research, Mailis Reps (Centre), said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Speaking at Tallinn's Mesipuu Kindergarten, Reps said the keywords for the new school year were language learning, digital revolution, and peaceful environments in schools. 

She said there will be more Estonian-language teachers in Russian-language kindergartens and more opportunities for Estonian-language e-learning.

There will be an upgrading of schools' IT infrastructure and equipment to creating e-learning resources and digital users, she added.

To ensure a good atmosphere in schools, the state is also stepping up the implementation of bullying prevention programs and giving teachers a greater right to safety at school.

Reps said it is a priority to develop infrastructure to support schools in having high-speed internet and internal networks. Over the next two years, 164 general education and vocational schools' IT networks will be established or upgraded, with the remainder coming between 2021 and 2022. 

The pilot program for basic textbooks launched last year was successful and the selection of textbooks is expanding further. As an innovation, digital textbooks can also be used free of charge by parents. Educational start-ups will be supported to create new educational asset solutions.

Reps said that there is a consensus in society that Estonian language levels can be strong when is started in kindergarten. According to Reps, non-native kindergartens will receive an additional teacher within the national program and will be able to teach in two languages. "The first 53 teachers are available," the minister said.

The amendment to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act, which comes into force in September, gives teachers a greater right to safety at school. In case of reasonable doubt, the student's bag or locker may be inspected and prohibited articles or items may be confiscated.

Reps announced earlier this month that the state is planning to spend €8.27 million updating the IT infrastructure of Estonia's general education and vocational schools by 2022.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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