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Bilingual education institutions in Tartu to switch to Estonian language instruction over a period of four years

Tartu City Government Press Release

Tartu Annelinna Gümnaasium Photo: Silver Siilak

15 June / Tartu has prepared an action plan for Estonian-language education for the years 2022–2025, which seeks to ensure a smooth transition to Estonian-language education in five Tartu educational institutions within four years.

The goal of the action plan for Estonian-language education is to switch over to Estonian-language education in Tartu Annelinna Upper Secondary School, Tartu Aleksander Puškini School, and the Kelluke, Annike and Mõmmik kindergartens by the 2025/2026 school year.

‘All young people must have an equal opportunity for self-fulfilment and participation in society. Estonian-language education helps children and young people to integrate into the Estonian cultural and value space provides them with equal opportunities to participate in society and working life, and to continue their studies at the next level of education entirely in Estonian. Tartu is in a relatively good starting position, as Estonian language teaching has been continuously developed in bilingual schools and kindergartens in Tartu,’ said Mayor Urmas Klaas.

Deputy Mayor Lemmit Kaplinski added that the objectives of the City of Tartu Action Plan are in line with the National Action Plan, which foresees the transition to Estonian-language education by 2035. ‘The issue of Estonian language education is very important throughout Estonia, and society clearly expects this issue to be actively addressed. The Tartu Action Plan serves as a guide for the rest of Estonia,’ said Kaplinski.

It will be implemented in close cooperation with schools, parents, and experts. Estonian is taught through language immersion, which supports the development of multilingualism without harming the child’s mother tongue. In addition to the already successful exchanges of experience taking place in Tartu schools, in the coming years the education network within Tartu will focus more broadly on supporting foreign language learners in the existing cultural and linguistic space.

Around EUR 350,000 will be earmarked each year for the implementation of the Action Plan, to be used for new job creation, teaching resources, trainings, and activities to support language and cultural learning. Starting with the 2022/2023 academic year, all five educational institutions will also pay an additional beginner’s allowance to teachers and support specialists coming to their first job who meet the qualification requirements and possess a C2 or higher level of proficiency in the Estonian language. The exact conditions for the additional beginner’s allowance will be developed in autumn 2022.

Last changed 15.06.2022