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The Riigikogu approved with 53 votes in favour (43 votes against) the Act on Amendments to the Universities Act, the Institutions of Professional Higher Education Act and Other Acts (89 SE), initiated by the Government, which amends the rights of students upon acquiring higher education financed from the state budget, and the procedure for the financing of the instruction at higher education levels from the state budget. The aim of the Act is to make the functioning of the higher education system fairer for students, to enhance the effectiveness of the instruction at higher education levels, to reduce the fragmentation of higher education, and to increase the responsibility of institutions of higher education in ensuring the quality of instruction. According to the Act, in the future, activity support which as a general rule is no longer bound to the number of specific study places and graduates will be allocated from the state budget to institutions of higher education for carrying out instruction at higher education levels. At the same time, several other fundamental amendments are made. The Act provides that, if a private school applies for activity support for carrying out instruction at higher education levels, the same requirements apply as with public and state educational institutions. The Act provides cumulative calculation of credit points in every semester. Students who are on academic leave have the right to attend lectures but not to take examinations and assessments. The prohibition on the completion of the study programme does not apply to persons with a moderate, severe or profound disability, the parents or guardians of a child under 3 years of age or a disabled child, and students who are on academic leave in connection with performance of their duty to serve in the Defence Forces. The Act enters into force on 1 January 2013. 

The Riigikogu concluded the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Road Transport Act, the State Fees Act and the Traffic Act (137 SE), initiated by the Government. The Bill provides the amendments arising from transposition of the Regulations of the European Parliament and of the Council. The Bill provides the specifications of the conditions for access to the occupation of road haulage operator, harmonises and simplifies the system of licences issued for the organisation of road transport, eliminates the restrictions on access to the market of international road haulage for reward arising from the Act which is currently in force, liberalises the conditions for using vehicles used under contract for use in road transport, amends punishments for violation of the requirements of the Road Transport Act and EU Regulations provided in the scope of responsibility of the Act, and specifies the wording of some provisions of the Road Transport Act in order to ensure legal clarity and conformity with other Acts and European Union law. 

The Riigikogu Press Service