Education financing center of dispute

  • 2013-06-14
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - The discussion on basic school and high school law may mean that next week the Estonian parliament is forced to hold a night session, as heated disputes are still going on regarding the financing of education and the organizing of support services, reports Public Broadcasting. The Riigikogu culture committee discussed the bill as an emergency issue Wednesday evening. The more serious discussions concern the financing model proposed by the Education Ministry as politicians are not agreeing with it and local municipalities either.

“The proposal is that the whole financing will be conducted above local municipalities. The model that the Education Ministry defends is that every school will get the budget money straight from the state and there won’t be direct local municipality support,” said culture committee member Mailis Reps (Center Party). Former Education Minister Reps said that this direction has been disputed by the Finance Ministry and the government was to start discussing the issue on June 13.

Culture committee chairman, Reform Party faction member Urmas Klaas said that the issue here is also the possible violation of autonomy of local municipalities. Another major issue is financing of support services like speech therapists, school psychologist or assistant teachers.

Reps said that the bill also abolishes the professional grades of teachers which could mean that new teachers and teachers with many years of work experience get the same minimum wage rates. The bill would also abolish bonuses of teachers. Reps said that if no compromises are reached on the bill, the opposition is ready to hold a night session.