Extension of free Estonian lessons will cost the state 10 million euros | Ukraine Latest
Data from an integration study conducted in 2020 shows that 35% of non-Estonian residents are dissatisfied with the availability of Estonian language education.
The Ministry of Education and Research and the Unemployment Insurance Fund agreed that there was less availability in smaller areas and that free courses in cities filled up very quickly.
Andero Adamson, head of the language policy department at the ministry, said general trends show more places are needed. “The need for an immediate response now comes from the war in Ukraine, but it has been on the table for a long time,” he told ETV’s “Aktuaalne kaamera” program on Monday.
Tartu County unemployment insurance fund manager Jane Väli said: “This morning a lady from Ukraine came to see us, who started by saying ‘hello’ in nice clear Estonian and she was in Estonia for about two days, we can assume that interest [in learning] grows.”
A new target group will be created for people already living in Estonia who want to learn the language.
Adamson said the state is currently able to offer 15,000 free Estonian lessons and there are plans to add 10,000 more. In addition, 100 additional teachers will be trained. This is the limit of the ministry.
The Deputy Head of Cultural Diversity at the Ministry of Culture, Eda Silberg, said: “It is not realistic that everyone who has arrived will receive language training today, tomorrow or in three months, but our aim is to be able to provide language training during the year. . I dare say the bottleneck will be a shortage of teachers and tutors rather than a lack of resources.”
Silberg said the state will begin offering classes to new target groups in June as long as the government allocates additional funds.
“We have taken into account that if we want to provide basic education in Estonian to 10,000 people, it is A1 level and A2 level, then this additional resource is around 9.5 million euros “Silberg said.
So far, more than 15,000 refugees have arrived in Estonia, of which at least a third are children.
Free language courses are provided by the government and are well known to fill up quickly, usually all places are sold out within an hour of online registration opening.
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