TALLINN - The group of the opposition Center Party in the Estonian parliament has submitted an interpellation to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas about the expedited transition to Estonian-language education, in which the group wants to know how the hundreds of specialists needed for the transition are planned to be recruited.
The transition is planned to start in 2024, pursuant to the coalition agreement, but it lacks a concrete and well thought out action plan to ensure high-quality education for everyone, the Center group said.
"It is important that students be continuously supported on their path to education. As we know, recruiting teachers is very difficult as it is. To our knowledge, the Ministry of Education and Research has not made sufficient preparations to ensure enough teachers even for the current system," MP of the Center Party Enn Eesmaa said while reading the interpellation out in the parliament.
"The transition you have proposed requires many more teachers. A perspective of at least five years in needed for ensuring the next generation of teachers so that students can graduate from their master level studies and start work," the interpellation reads.
The Center Party group requests that the prime minister describe what the prognosis is for the number of additional teachers needed and how the need for additional teachers is planned to be met. The Center group also wants to learn if there are any plans to significantly increase state-funded study places for teachers and what the action plan is for gaining such a large number of qualified teachers for a variety of school subjects.
The party group likewise wants to know what the prerequisites are for ensuring that the current quality of instruction does not deteriorate and how much funding is planned to be allocated for the costs pertaining to the transition to Estonian-language education.
When it comes to transitioning to Estonian as the language of instruction, the method for teaching children whose first language is not Estonian is important as well, the Center group said.
"Have the methods specifically for this purpose been developed and when were they developed? Are there any plans to develop any new modern methods and how will it be ensured that all teachers will be taught these methods?" members of the Center Party group asked in their interpellation.