TALLINN – The Estonian government allocated approximately 381 million euros to local governments to support the operation and maintenance of general education schools next year and a new measure to be introduced is the culture backpack support.
According to Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab, education support to local governments will increase by approximately 23 million euros next year. "The majority, or 81 percent, of education support is earmarked for teachers' labor costs. That amount will increase by some 21 million euros next year," the minister said in a press release.
In addition, 923,000 euros will be for study trips in basic school to encourage the acquisition of cultural education in studies and to increase the number of visits to cultural institutions by students.
"It is particularly gratifying that, in limited circumstances, the government has found an opportunity to set up a cultural backpack measure. There can never be too much money in education, any injection of money is welcome for the development of children. When allocating support, we took into account that in sparsely populated rural areas, the cost of visiting cultural institutions is slightly more expensive than in cities," Aab said.
Additionally, 24 million euros will be allocated for school lunches, 21 million euros for the activity costs of enhanced and special support students, 15 million euros for the labor costs of principals and vice principals, 8 million euros for teaching aids and 2 million euros for refresher training.
The total amount of the equalization and support fund to be distributed to local governments in 2022 is 587 million euros. In addition to general education, the fund also supports other areas such as local road maintenance, hobby education and activities, kindergarten teachers' labor costs, funeral support, substitute care, assistance for children with disabilities, and subsistence allowances and population activities. The distribution of these grants will be known by the end of January.
The purpose of the equalization and support fund is to harmonize the budgetary possibilities of rural municipalities and cities and to provide local governments with sufficient resources for the organization of local life.