Eesti in brief - 2011-02-10

  • 2011-02-09

Russian-speaking schools in Estonia will have to start teaching 60 percent of their curriculum in the Estonian language this autumn and no postponement of the reform will take place, reports National Broadcasting, citing Education Minister Tonis Lukas. The preparedness of the Russian schools for the reform varies: some schools are completely ready, others fear the coming autumn. Lukas met last week with the Student Bodies Assembly that represents students of Russian schools. The majority of the participants did not question the transition to Estonian language study in principle; the question is in readiness. Lukas is firm that the reform cannot be dragged on any longer and that politicians, rather than teachers and pupils complain about it. Lukas said that a fourth of children from Russian-speaking families study in Estonian-speaking schools or in language integration classes and postponement of the reform would mean a further decrease of the number of pupils in Russian speaking schools.

Tartu University and Tallinn Technical University will start training nuclear energy specialists together, reports Estonian National Broadcasting. Although Estonia has not made a decision to build her own nuclear power plant, the universities want to be ready to satisfy the need for local specialists with the master’s degree courses that start this autumn. Around a dozen students will be accepted. At the same time, the universities are trying to attract foreign students, since the need for nuclear specialists is growing everywhere in the world. The Tartu Univesity nuclear safety specialist curriculum is in English. “Looking at how many nuclear power plants are being built and planned, it seems that there is a chance at the world level, too. Thinking of Estonia’s needs, even if we do not have a nuclear power plant, we need a certain amount of specialists connected to nuclear safety, nuclear waste and radiation,” said Tartu University study pro-rector Martin Hallik.

German Central Bank Governor Alex Am Weber, who delivered a lecture at Eesti Pank on Feb. 7, cautioned Estonia that after being accepted to the monetary union, the balanced budget policy has to be continued, reports Aripaev. “It would be the wrong path, now that you have become a member of the club, to give up that policy,” said Weber. “Balanced budgetary policy should be a part of the election platform of each member state’s finance minister. This is in the interests of all the states and no outside force is needed for that,” said Weber. Weber considers it right to stipulate the balanced budget requirement or reduction of debt burden requirement in the constitutions of member states like Germany has done. “If something is written in the constitution, then it is followed,” he said. “In many states this is not the case and thus debts and deficits are not considered particularly big violations.”