Estonia’s debt burden will increase considerably in the coming years as EFSF loans will be added to the debt calculation; by the end of this year, the debt burden is forecast to grow to 10.5 percent and by the end of next year to 12 percent of GDP, reports Postimees Online. Last year, the government’s debt burden fell to 6 percent. The government doesn’t intend to change its loan policy, which prescribed no loan-taking. “Estonia’s loan policy does not change,” said Finance Minister Jurgen Ligi on Aug. 31. Ligi said that the plan to help out Greece so that in seven years its debts would be at a sustainable level is still in force. The loans EFSF grants to Greece and Spain increase Estonia’s loan burden calculation. In 2012 the first payments will be made to the European Stability Mechanism.
The Estonian Tiger Leap Foundation will in September launch the program ‘ProgeTiiger,’ in the framework of which Estonian pupils in grades 1 to 12 will be introduced to computer programming and creating web applications, reports Public Broadcasting. “The interest of pupils towards using modern technologies has grown year after year. With the ‘ProgeTiiger’ program we create prerequisites for pupils to develop from consumers of software to creators of software,” said Tiger Leap Foundation training sphere manager Ave Lauringson. “Programming also supplements the robotics sphere very well, which has been operating with our support for several years,” she said. In the first stage, the program concerns pilot schools; in the following years all public schools can join. The first ones to start with program lessons will be primary school pupils after their teachers go through corresponding training in September. Next year, programming hobby groups for middle school and selective courses for high school will be added. Study materials for all levels are being created. Tiger Leap Foundation’s initiative is supported by technology sphere companies.
The Estonian Doctors Union council decided to hold a strike together with the Estonian Healthcare Workers Vocational union, aiming to stop doctors and nurses leaving Estonia and stop the collapse of the Estonian healthcare system, reports Postimees Online. The Estonian Doctors Union council set an aim of concluding a collective labor agreement to raise the minimum wage rates of doctors, nurses and caretakers and improving working conditions. “The social minister and hospitals union refused to hold real negotiations over the collective labor agreement and the arbitration proceedings ended with a protocol of different opinions. For the whole spring we tried to achieve agreements peacefully still, but all our proposals were rejected or working on them was postponed indefinitely. Thus we have used up other possibilities and the only thing to do is a strike,” said the Estonian Doctors Union president, Andres Kork. The plan is to start the strike in October. First, ambulatory work in Tallinn and Tartu hospitals will be suspended. Emergency medical departments and intensive care units, maternity wards, treatments of pregnant women, children and cancer patients will not be affected. The scope and exact start of the strike will be announced two weeks ahead like the law prescribes.