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Estonian students are third in Europe, after Finland and Ireland, for their reading skills and their knowledge of mathematics and science subjects, reports a recent European Commission survey. According to the Education Ministry the share of students with a ‘poor achievement level’ in science subjects is three times lower in Estonia than is the average in Europe. The share of adults in life-long learning programs has sharply increased. This is reflected in an improvement, where data from 2000 shows that Estonia’s results were one of the lowest (6.7 percent of adults), but in 2008 it was firmly among the average in Europe, at 9.8 percent. For persons aged from 18 to 24, Estonia is close to the European average in the number of people dropping out of school. This level was 15.1 percent in 2000 and 14.4 percent in 2007, dropping to 14 percent last year. The report says that although achievement of four of the five educational aims set for 2010 seems unlikely to be met, the country stands out with its results.
The Board of the President of the Republic’s Cultural Foundation has granted this year’s Young Scientist Award to Mait Muntel, a researcher at the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics. He specializes in research of highenergy physics. President Ilves presented the award on Dec.14, reports Internet site president ee. Muntel defended his doctoral dissertation in 2008 at Tartu University, the subject of the paper being ‘Detection of the Double- Charged Higgs’s Boson with a CMS-Detector.” While researching his doctorate, he also worked at the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics and Institute of Theoretical Physics of the same university. The award comes with a 75,000 kroons’ (4,800 euros) prize, and is financed by entrepreneur Toomas Luman. The award is intended for young Estonian scientists under the age of 35, who have a doctoral degree and are conducting research at an Estonian or foreign university. Last year Ilves gave the award to Veronika Kalmus, a sociologist and media scholar.
A new Eurobarometer survey showed that Estonians are more worried about becoming unemployed than people in any other EU member state, reports bbn. ee. In reference to the survey, the European Commission said that 68 percent of Estonians who responded to the survey said that this was the primary concern for them. This is notably more than the EU average of 51 percent expressing these concerns. In a related question, 54 percent of Europeans believe that worsening unemployment is still to come. However, 38 percent, or 10 percent more than in the spring, said that they believe that the crisis has already peaked. Around 30 percent of Europeans believe that the next 12 months will be better, while 38 percent say it will be the same and 21 percent are confident that things will deteriorate; 11 percent offered no opinion. The survey was made by TNS between Oct. 23 and Nov. 18, interviewing a total of 30,238 people.