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The Riigikogu deliberated five drafts at its sitting today.

Two Bills passed the second reading

The Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act and Other Acts (transition to Estonian as the language of instruction) (722 SE), initiated by the Government, will create the bases and conditions for the transition to Estonian as the language of instruction.

According to the Bill, nurseries and the 1st and 4th grades will be the first to transfer to Estonian as the language of instruction in the academic year 2024/2025. In upper secondary school and in studies carried out under vocational secondary education curricula, in the academic years from 2024/2025 to 2029/2030, the proportion of another language may be up to 40 per cent of the volume of studies laid down in the curriculum of the school. Schools will be obligated to ensure transition to Estonian as the language of instruction in the 10th grade by no later than the academic year 2030/2031, in the 11th grade by no later than the academic year 2031/2032 and in the 12th grade by no later than the academic year 2032/2033. In vocational educational institutions, the amendment will concern the students studying under a curriculum of vocational secondary education.

According to the Bill, from the academic year 2024/2025, in order to carry out teaching and education activities in languages other than Estonian in grades where Estonian is compulsory, permission will have to be obtained from the Government who may grant a derogation to a child care institution or group for one year on the application of the rural municipality or city council. The Bill provides for possibilities to use other languages in addition to Estonian and other languages instead of Estonian in the case of certain target groups if an extra-school counselling team recommends this, for example, in respect of students with moderate learning difficulties or with severe or profound learning difficulties, or with special needs.

The Bill will provide, similarly to the current procedure, that a school organises language and cultural teaching for students acquiring basic education whose native language is other than the language of instruction or who communicate at home in a language other than the language of instruction, which is the native language of at least one parent, provided that no fewer than ten students with the same native language or with the same language of household communication request it.

According to the Bill, the qualification requirements for education workers will be amended by adding a requirement of Estonian language proficiency under which teachers will have to be proficient in Estonian at the C1 level. Before the second reading, the Cultural Affairs Committee had incorporated into the Bill an amendment under which the obligation of heads of schools and head teachers to meet the language proficiency requirement would be brought forward. Heads of educational institutions will have to be proficient in Estonian at the C1 level from 1 August 2023 instead of the deadline of 1 September 2024 initially proposed in the Bill. The requirement of proficiency in Estonian will be applied to teachers and support specialists as a qualification requirement from 1 August 2024.

The committee also supported the proposal to enforce the beginner’s allowance for support specialists in nursery schools from 1 September 2023 instead of 1 September 2024, in order to ensure the equal support of schools and nursery schools.

During the debate, Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Centre Party), Margit Sutrop (Reform Party), Mihhail Stalnuhhin, Toomas Jürgenstein (Social Democratic Party), Helle-Moonika Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Signe Kivi (Reform Party), Siim Kiisler, Peeter Ernits (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Andres Metsoja (Isamaa), Heiki Hepner (Isamaa), Dmitri Dmitrijev (Centre Party), Anastassia Kovalenko-Kõlvart (Centre Party), Jürgen Ligi (Reform Party), Raimond Kaljulaid, Tõnis Mölder (Centre Party) and Jaak Aab (Centre Party) took the floor.

The Estonian Centre Party Faction moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill. The result of voting: 18 votes in favour and 49 against. The motion was not supported. The second reading of the Bill was concluded.

The Bill on Amendments to the Maritime Safety Act (697 SE), initiated by the Government, will reduce the rates of fairway dues in place in 2023 in order to support the international carriage of goods and passengers by sea.

While from the start of the COVID-pandemic until the end of March 2021 ships entering Estonian ports and the roadstead of Estonian ports were exempted from the payment of fairway dues, from last April until the end of this year fairway dues have been reduced by 50 per cent. Initially the Bill provided that, in 2023, ships would have to pay fairway dues by 25 per cent less than provided for in law. During the proceedings, however, the Finance Committee incorporated an amendment into the Bill under which the rate of reduction will increase to 37.5 per cent to support the development of the maritime sector.

The lowering of fairway dues will apply to all ships entering Estonian ports and the roadstead of Estonian ports regardless of the type of ship and the flag the ship is flying. The purpose of the amendment is to continue supporting international maritime transport through Estonian ports and to motivate consignors to direct their trade flows through Estonian ports where possible

Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa) took the floor during the debate.

The Riigikogu passed two Resolutions

According to the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Amendment of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Formation of the Estonian Delegation to the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania”” (748 OE), submitted by the Foreign Affairs Committee, Urve Tiidus is  appointed the Head of the Estonian delegation to the Baltic Assembly, and the current Head of the delegation Aadu Must becomes Deputy Head. The current deputy head Sven Sester is excluded from the delegation and Vilja Toomast is appointed a member of the delegation to replace him.

57 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution and one abstained.

The consolidated report approved by the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Approval of the Consolidated Report of 2021 of the State” (686 OE), submitted by the Government, gives an overview of the achievement of the goals set in the state budget, and of the financial position, financial performance and cash flows of the state.

The consolidated report of 2021 of the state consists of the management report, the consolidated and the unconsolidated annual accounts of the state, and information on local governments, the public sector and the government sector. The consolidated report also includes the audit report of the National Audit Office.

78 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution.

A draft Resolution was rejected

The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “Making a proposal to the Government of the Republic to develop measures to increase support to pensioners living alone” (718 OE), submitted by the Centre Party Faction, was intended to make a proposal to the Government to develop measures to increase support to pensioners living alone. This would include allowing another close relative of a pensioner living alone to be registered at the same address with them and eliminating the restriction according to which the monthly pension of the pensioner must be lower than 1.2 times the average old-age pension in Estonia for them to be eligible for the allowance.

During the debate, Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Tõnis Mölder (Centre Party) took the floor.

33 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of passing the Resolution and one was against. The Resolution was not passed, because the support of at least 51 members of the Riigikogu was needed to pass it. The draft Resolution was dropped from the legislative proceedings.

During the open microphone, Tarmo Kruusimäe and Peeter Ernits took the floor.

The sitting ended at 10.59 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service
Gunnar Paal,
+372 631 6351, +372 5190 2837
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]

 

 

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