Defence Forces introduce mandatory Estonian classes for conscripts ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian Defence Forces.
Estonian Defence Forces. Source: Mil.ee

The Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) have introduced mandatory Estonian language classes to teach recruits who need to improve their speaking and grammar skills.

It is estimated that about 300 recruits each year will need to undergo language classes, ERR reported. Classes are taught two days a week and in the conscripts free time. Conscripts will learn military vocabulary and Estonian grammar from A2 level upwards.

Major Arvo Jõesalu, chief of the Defense Forces' press department, said the lack of language skills of some conscripts has proved to be a problem, as exercises and driver training are conducted in Estonian.

He said: "The goals of Estonian language learning is to improve students' Estonian language skills and help facilitate their integration into Estonian society." Adding it will also help with additional opportunities in their career.

The EDF have taught Estonian to conscripts before, but it is now compulsory for all conscripts who are not proficient. 

Currently approximately €20,000 a year is spent on Estonian language training and from 2020 it will increase to approximately €45,000.

Estonian classes are being taught in Jõhvi, Viru Infantry Battalion, Tapa Rear Battalion and Paldiski Kalev Infantry Battalion, Cyber ​​Command, Support Logistics Battalion, Guard Battalion and Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion.

Jõesalu said feedback from conscripts has been positive so far, but said the number of teaching hours are too few.  

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Editor: Helen Wright

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