Follow-up to Tiger's Leap launched

  • 2001-02-08
  • BNS
TALLINN - On Jan. 23 the Estonian government approved a follow-up program to the ambitious Tiger's Leap project aimed at computerizing Estonian society.

The program, which will last until 2005, aims to maximise the efficiency of information technology use in schools.

The main idea is to use communications technology in primary schools and colleges as efficiently as possible. Without this the large investments made in the field won't see a return, Education Minister Tonis Lukas said.

The plan pays the greatest attention to the training of teachers. It also calls for supplying schools with the equipment necessary for realizing the potential offered by information technology in tuition.

Estimated central government funding over the five years comes to 167 million kroons ($10 million). Funding by local authorities will total 220 million kroons, Heli Aru, adviser to the education minister, told BNS.

Estonian schools are already well equipped with information and communication technology, with one computer per 25 pupils on average.

But the situation varies greatly in different parts of the country. There are, for instance, 15 pupils per school computer on the island of Hiiumaa and 48 students per computer in the capital, Tallinn.

The Estonian government has so far spent 164.5 million kroons on a program launched in 1997. Local governments have contributed an additional 87.5 million kroons, mostly to buy computers for schools.

Also, several million kroons for schools' IT purchases have come from different international funds and projects.