Estonia: teaching in Estonian only

The Estonian parliament passed a law on Monday under which Estonian will become the only language of instruction at schools in the country. The transition is to take place between 2024 and 2030. Commentators take very different views on how the move will affect the country's Russian-speaking minority.

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Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

A brutal experiment

Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski, a politician from the Centre Party, which is close to the Russian-speaking minority, sharply criticises the reform in Eesti Päevaleht:

“According to experts who, unlike politicians, work in schools and kindergartens every day, the law has not been well thought through at all. The catastrophic lack of teachers and methodology could endanger the school system and result in a situation where some children simply cannot cope with the task of learning in another language. In its current form, this is all reminiscent of a brutal experiment that results in many children dropping out of the education system and joining the ranks of the NEET youth (not in education, employment or training).”

Postimees (EE) /

An opportunity for Russian-speaking children

Sergei Metlev, editor-in-chief of the Russian-language version of the daily Postimees, welcomes the equalisation in the school system:

“Many graduates have not been able to realise their full potential in Estonia. Many prejudices and problems have arisen due to weak language skills and poor social networks. Talents have been lost or left the country, but tensions remained, driven by poverty and bitterness. Despite all the difficulties in implementation, the cornerstone of our future is an Estonian-language education system based on the best European pedagogy and free of segregation. For everyone.”