Today, the Riigikogu deliberated separation of the basic school and the upper secondary school as a matter of significant national importance, in connection with the new Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act which is in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu. Reports were by Member of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, the Managing Director of the Association of Estonian Cities Jüri Võigemast and the Chairman of the Association of Estonian School Leaders Toomas Kruusimägi.
Mailis Reps focused her report on the costs, risks and objectives arising from separation of the upper secondary school and the basic school. In Reps’s opinion, parties should agree among themselves on the objective of the upper secondary school education. In her words, it is significantly broader than simply preparing for the university. In Reps’s words, the assessment or basis of the quality of upper secondary schools cannot be limited to the results of state examinations or places of state-commissioned education at universities. Reps said that the Centre Party understands the education reform as a fundamental change in the quality of providing education. A change in quality has to involve three components, namely teachers, the study environment and the content of the education, which in Reps’s opinion is not ensured by the planned reform. She made a proposal to take into account the individuality of local governments and to allow different opportunities upon separation of the basic school and the upper secondary school in view of the very varied patterns of schools. Reps stressed that amendments should be based on quality not the number of children, and therefore an accreditation system should be created, that is, the Ministry of Education should decide on the future of schools on the basis of content, not on the basis of calculations.
Jüri Võigemast discussed the potential problems which local governments may be facing in the light of the concept of the new Act, and Toomas Kruusimägi highlighted the potential problems at schools arising from the implementation of the Act.
The Riigikogu passed four Acts:
The Act on Amendments to the Names Act and the State Fees Act
), initiated by the Government, was passed with 73 votes in favour. In connection with the passing of the Civil Status Acts Act, the Names Act is amended by adding the norms which are necessary upon transition to the electronic system of vital statistics registrations. New sections which provide the use of personal names, name entries, assigning of a new surname to a child upon filiation and assigning of a new surname name at the request of a person were added to the Names Act. The Act enters into force on 1 July 2010.
The Act on Amendments to the Explosive Substances Act, the Advertising Act and the State Fees Act
), initiated by the Government, which updates the regulation in the Explosive Substances Act in connection with transposition of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council regulating the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles, was passed with 74 votes in favour.
The European Union Services Directive Implementation Act
), initiated by the Government, which provides the rules necessary for the implementation of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market in order to ensure freedom of establishment for persons of Contracting States of the European Economic Area and the freedom of provision of services in Estonia.
The Act on Amendments to the Food Act and the State Fees Act
), initiated by the Government, was passed with 79 votes in favour. A major amendment is the providing of new principles of the financing of food surveillance activities. A supervision fee for surveillance activities is established as of 1 January 2010, instead of the current state fee. The food surveillance fee is applied with regard to surveillance activities not mentioned in the Veterinary Activities Organisation Act, that is, those related to the food of non-animal origin and carried out in retail businesses.
The sitting ended at 1.57 p.m.
See the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):