Estonian education minister: Ventilation support purposefully used by half of local govts

  • 2021-09-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna said that only 53 percent of local governments purposefully used the 30 million euros allocated for upgrading the ventilation systems of schools.

Kersna said at a press conference on Thursday that the use of money allocated for upgrades is recommended and the government cannot dictate how to use it. Altogether 53 percent of local governments confirmed that they used the money for the intended purpose, but what others did with the allocated money was not asked.

According to the minister, the ventilation of almost 250 educational institutions needs to be modernized in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Altogether 70 percent of general education school students study in mechanically ventilated classes and 30 percent in naturally ventilated classes, and according to Kersna, the latter must be addressed.

As the construction of ventilation requires much more money than there currently is for allocation, the government has decided that the 2.6 million euros left over from the crisis measures will be allocated to municipalities for the purchase of carbon dioxide detectors and air purifiers in classrooms with natural ventilation.

According to the minister, carbon dioxide detectors make it possible to see when it would be right to ventilate a classroom. The same money can also be used to draw up ventilation projects. Should the government at some point create a new measure for upgrading ventilation, the municipalities could already have the projects ready, she added.