Estonian govt wants no-confidence motion against Kersna discussed as soon as possible

  • 2022-06-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government at an extraordinary sitting on Tuesday decided to submit an application to the board of the Riigikogu to discuss the motion of no confidence filed against Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna at the earliest opportunity at Tuesday's plenary session.

The motion to express no confidence in the minister of education and research was submitted in the parliament by members of the groups of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) and the Center Party.

According to chairman of the Center group Jaanus Karilaid, Kersna has failed in her activities.

"Many concerns and shortcomings have emerged in Liina Kersna's area of administration, which have remained unresolved for a long time and with regard to which no resolutions have been proposed," Karilaid said. 

"We are of the opinion that in the organization of the procurement of rapid tests, the minister failed to comply with the requirements in the Public Procurement Act and caused millions of euros' worth of economic damages to the state. Problems regarding the financing of higher education establishments have been raised for a long time and because of an impasse, management contracts remain unsigned. This jeopardizes the sustainability of higher education. The minister has failed to make decisive efforts in this field," he said. 

Karilaid added that the Center Party supports the strengthening of Estonian-language instruction both in schools and kindergartens; however, the incumbent minister has unfortunately ended a number of initiatives that have received positive feedback in this area.

Karilaid pointed out that in 2018, the then minister of education Mailis Reps launched a pilot project on professional Estonian language teachers in study groups where instruction is provided in Russian. To date, 40 kindergartens from nine local governments have joined the project and over 300 Estonian language teachers have been hired by kindergartens for Russian-speaking children. In 2020, the project was expanded to also include schools and 20 Estonian-speaking teachers began work in schools in grades 1 and 2 where there are at least 10 children whose family members do not speak Estonian at home. Over the past two years, 40 teachers were employed.

"The last minister of education that hired any new teachers through these projects was Jaak Aab from the Center Party. Despite big words and promises, Minister Liina Kersna from the Reform Party has not hired any new Estonian teachers for schools and kindergartens," Karilaid said.