TALLINN – Tonis Molder, the chairman of the extended policy-making board of the Center Party, on Wednesday called on Center's coalition partner Reform Party to support the idea to make kindergartens free across Estonia.
According to Molder, minister of the environment in the two-party Cabinet, the capital city has already met the national government halfway.
"The Tallinn city government has made a landmark proposal to abolish kindergarten fees from the second kindergarten-attending child onwards. While for many families in the capital city this is really important news, the state has been given a clear message that half of what is necessary has now been done and the Riigikogu can do the other half," he said.
"The Center Party's platform for the 2021 local elections sets the goal of abolishing the kindergarten fee completely in cooperation with the state. This burden must certainly not be placed solely on the municipalities, but the state must also shoulder it," Molder argued.
"The Reform Party vociferously stands for this principle in Tallinn, now we hope that the same idea will become one of the priorities of the state for our good coalition partner," he added.
According to Molder, the abolition of the place fee for kindergarten all over Estonia means a need for the state to find about 20 million euros to bridge the gap to be created by the move.
"I believe that people in the Reform Party understand the need to set this goal and that we will soon be able to start preparing a relevant plan," Molder said.
The Tallinn city government gave its nod to a draft regulation on Tuesday that would exempt families from paying the kindergarten place fee for the second and further children attending kindergarten. Parents of children attending private kindergartens or using childcare services will also be eligible for the same exemption in Tallinn.
An amount of 900,030 euros has been earmarked in the city's budget for additional childcare fee concessions. The concessions still need to be approved by the city council.