TALLINN - The three Baltic states share challenges in education -- schools with a small number of students and the need to increase teachers' salaries -- but the capacity to address those challenges is different, it was admitted at the 25th meeting of the education ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that began in Vihula on Thursday and is to continue on Friday.
"The salaries of teachers have constantly risen from 850 euros to 1,250 euros over past three years, but the minimum salary in Latvia is about 710 euros and in Lithuania about 800 euros," Estonian Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps said. "With the increases in salaries and the development of the image of the teaching profession, Estonia sets a great example. Estonia's principle to reorganize the school network and increase teachers' salaries is something that Latvia and Lithuania seek to follow," the minister added..
The ministers came to the conclusion that cooperation must be increased and experiences should be shared even more.
According to Reps, Estonia has also something to learn from Latvia and Lithuania. "For example, Lithuania's solutions for ensuring that there are young teachers or a motivation package for teaching staff have given great results. But on the other hand, Latvia and Lithuania's approach to set the minimum number of students per school or class is not transferable to Estonia as it may decrease autonomy, which is one of the founding pillars of Estonia's successful education system," the minister said.
In addition to exchanging experience, the ministers also discussed the future of education and skills, the development of curricula, cooperation in international organization, the internationalization of higher education and joint participation in international projects.
The meeting of education ministers takes place every year in a different Baltic state and the next meeting in 2020 will take place in Latvia.