The Language Inspectorate has directed 368 teachers of Tallinn upper and lower secondary schools to take an Estonian language exam since 2006.
The inspectorate has tested the Estonian language proficiency of approximately 1,400 teachers in the capital’s secondary schools since 2006.
The fluency of teaching staff, particularly in Russian-language schools, has become a prominent issue in recent months. Starting from September 2011, Russian upper secondary schools will be required to teach at least 60 percent of classes in Estonian according to the law.
B2-level Estonian is the minimum requirement for teachers who are not native speakers. The B2 designation means that speakers understand complex and concrete texts concerning their specialty subject and are able to spontaneously and fluently engage in conversation.
During the latest inspection visit in early April, the inspectorate found that language proficiency of seven interviewed teachers at the Haabersti Russian upper secondary school did not meet the required minimum. "It's not really a large number at all, considering the total amount," chief inspector Leho Klaser told uudised.err.ee.
Over the five-year period, the most problematic Tallinn secondary schools have been the Paekaare Gümnaasium, where only 19 of the 45 teachers met the standards, and the Lasnamäe Gümnaasium, where the proficiency of 9 out of the staff of 32 was up to par, according to Klaser.
Compared to Tallinn, native Russian teachers' language proficiency is only worse in Ida-Viru County, whereas the situation is much better in southern Estonia, Klaser said.