Estonia suggests reviewing Russian language dominance in schools – Baltic News Network
Education Minister Tõnis Lukas has criticized the predominance of Russian as the main foreign language in Estonian schools and considers this situation more of a habit than a necessity, reports Estonian public broadcaster ERR.
Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the teaching of the Russian language in schools is now under surveillance.
On Wednesday, August 3, on the Vikerraadio program “Vikerhommik”, he said that the dominance of the Russian language in Estonia as a second foreign language is not normal. He considers Russian tourists to be able to speak English, as it is the first foreign language taught in Russia and will not be left without communication options.
THE MINISTER SAID THAT SO FAR IN ESTONIA, ENGLISH HAS BEEN OFFERED AS A FIRST FOREIGN LANGUAGE and RUSSIAN AS A SECOND, AND THIS SHOULD BE CHANGED IN BOTH CASES, OFFERING FRENCH OR GERMAN AS AN ALTERNATIVE.
The ERR reports that the Ministry of Education does not approve schools offering Russian as a second foreign language. As a reason, he mentions Russian language teachers in schools that need a workload, while smaller schools have not been able to recruit German or French teachers. But this cannot be an excuse for choosing Russian as a foreign language.
He thinks that schools should find solutions in line with parents’ wishes and could offer pupils a wider range of language courses.
The Minister for Education also stressed that languages were not politicized and that the language itself was not to blame for anything, but that there should be a wider choice available
Lukas considers it important to offer more than one or two foreign languages, so that society does not consider the languages taught to be the critical languages. Because it will make the world a much poorer place for ourselves.
In many schools in Estonia, students can choose Russian as a foreign language from the 6th grade, although in some cases it can be studied earlier.
Due to the current invasion of Ukraine, many parents are hesitant about teaching the Russian language to their children.