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The Minister of Education and Research Jürgen Ligi replied to the interpellation concerning the financing of general education schools from the money of parents (No. 127), submitted by members of the Riigikogu Märt Sults, Kersti Sarapuu, Enn Eesmaa, Tarmo Tamm, Olga Ivanova, Jaanus Karilaid, Siret Kotka, Peeter Ernits and Viktor Vassiljev on 13 January.

The interpellators referred to the audit conducted by the National Audit Office last year that had revealed that, in eight out of the ten schools that had been audited in Tallinn and Tartu, co-financing of parents was used to a greater or lesser extent in the implementation of the study programme. However, this is not in conformity with the principle provided for by law that studying at general education schools of local governments must be without tuition fee, and the school must not presume co-financing from parents. The interpellators asked Ligi what steps had been taken with regard to the heads of school mentioned in the report who had breached financial discipline.

Ligi explained that the National Audit Office has given recommendations first of all to Tallinn City Government as the owner of school. This is a direct responsibility of the owner of school. The supervision right of the Ministry of Education and Research is significantly more general. Ligi noted that the majority of the schools have no problems with that. He said that the county government had conducted state supervision proceedings with regard to Mustamäe College, and this year it is planned also with regard to the English College, in order to inspect the situation and issue precepts to heads of schools.

“Free education must be available. Local governments and the state must provide it in cooperation,” Ligi stressed. “In this case, it is the provision of basic education that has been delegated to the local government, but so far they keep also most of the upper secondary schools free of charge within the framework of the curriculum.” He explained that everything that is added to that is an organisational option. Ligi said that additional lessons cannot be scheduled between the lessons of the curriculum. This must not be a pressure for the parent, and the parent should not feel pressured when having to pay money to the school. Ligi thinks that hobby education can also be organised flexibly in a school if it is separated from the curriculum. There is no need to establish a hobby education school or another organisation for that.

The Minister of Education and Research also replied to the interpellation concerning the promotion of hobby education in technical, exact and natural sciences in the Ministry of Education and Research (No. 125).

The Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal replied to the interpellation concerning the provision of the ferry traffic service between the mainland and large islands in 2016–2017 (No. 122).

During the open microphone, Rein Ratas took the floor.

The sitting ended at 4.40 p.m.

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian): http://stenogrammid.riigikogu.ee/et/201602151500

Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu

(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)

Riigikogu Press Service

Gunnar Paal, 6316351, 51902837

[email protected]