Monday, September 17, 2007

Common language

The Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat has a report on the gradual introduction of Estonian as the principal language of instruction in the country's schools for Russian-speaking pupils:
During the current term, the change applies to the first grades of the upper secondary schools, with the Estonian-language instruction of literature.

"I guess it is good to have some practice", said Nastja Tretjak in Russian. She is starting the first grade of the Russian-language upper secondary school in Lasnamäki, Tallinn. Her classmates Julia Rabotajenko and Maksim Smarov nodded in unison.

The Russian and Estonian communities live apart from each other, and even if they live in Tallinn, people do not necessarily have any opportunity to practice the language. Moreover, some young people have started to speak English with each other. The majority of the population in the larger cities of Northeastern Estonia are Russian-speaking.

The objective of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research is to gradually increase the proportion of the Estonian-language instruction in Russian-speaking upper secondary schools, so that in four years some 60 per cent of all compulsory subjects would be taught in Estonian.

The aim is to improve the Russian-speaking pupils’ proficiency in Estonian as well as their competitiveness in the labour market.
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