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At today’s sitting, the Riigikogu approved the Resolution to appoint Oliver Kask a justice of the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Villu Kõve made a proposal to appoint Oliver Kask a justice of the Supreme Court as of 12 September. In the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Kask is an experienced and recognised lawyer whose  professional experience in Tallinn Circuit Court, the National Electoral Committee, the Ministry of Justice and several international organisations will allow him to contribute significantly to the work of both the Administrative Law Chamber and the Constitutional Review Chamber  of the Supreme Court as well as to the further development of Estonian administrative and constitutional law.

At a secret ballot, 61 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Oliver Kask a Justice of the Supreme Court” (424 OE), submitted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Seven voted against and there was one abstention.

The Pre-school Education Bill passed the first reading

The Pre-school Education Bill (419 SE), initiated by the Government, will establish a comprehensive pre-school education system, make the childcare service part of the pre-school education system and  harmonise the requirements for childcare facilities and existing crèches. The childcare service will remain a social service only for the cases where a child has a high need for care and assistance.

The Bill will raise the qualification requirements in place for the staff of preschool child care institutions. According to the Bill, the director of a preschool will have to have at least a master’s degree; a childminder will have to have at least a secondary education and a level 4 qualification as a childminder; and an assistant teacher will have to have at least a secondary education, a level 4 qualification as a childminder, or pedagogical competences. In the future, childcare facilities will have to draw up a childcare curriculum, similarly to the current crèches. Pre-school education in preschool and childcare will have to be organised in Estonian according to the national pre-school education curriculum.

The Bill is also intended to eliminate waiting lists for preschool. To this end, the Bill provides that local governments will have to guarantee a place in a childcare facility for all children aged between 1.5 and 3 years, and in a preschool for children aged between 3 and 7 years, at the request of a parent. If there are no vacancies at the parent’s preferred institutions, a place will have to be offered in a childcare facility or preschool close to home. Under the Bill, local governments will be able to determine when a parent can submit an application for a place before the child reaches the age of one and a half. A two-month time limit will be provided for the municipality to process the application.

The service may also be provided on the territory of another city or municipality if there is a relevant agreement between the local governments. In addition, the Bill will support cooperation with the private sector in the guaranteeing of childcare and preschool places, as it is possible for local governments to buy services from private companies. In such cases, the requirements in place for municipal preschools will extend to private preschools. In private preschools that have not been mandated by the local government to carry out their task, instruction may continue in another language, but Estonian language training will have to be ensured according to the national pre-school education curriculum.

In general, the Bill will make no changes to the system for funding pre-school education. While under the current Act the state budget provides, where possible, for support to local governments for the creation of places in child care institutions and for renovation, for the development of the learning environment in child care institutions and for the salaries of teachers in child care institutions, the Bill will provide for the possibility of supporting local governments from the state budget for the continuing training of teachers, for Estonian language instruction and for the acquisition of teaching materials.

During the debate, Tõnis Lukas took the floor on behalf of Isamaa Parliamentary Group, Heljo Pikhof on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Group and Margit Sutrop on behalf of the Estonian Reform Party Group. Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas also participated in the debate.

A Bill was rejected

The Bill on Amendments to the Language Act and the Public Transport Act (397 SE), initiated by Isamaa Parliamentary Group, was intended to update the legal framework for language.

Major amendments would have concerned the administration procedures in the Estonian language at legal persons governed by public law, and the use of language in trade marks in foreign languages, in audio advertisements and in the web addresses of state and municipal agencies, as well as the language requirements for people performing platform work.

In addition, it was intended to provide for in the Act that taxi drivers would have to meet the required level of Estonian language skills in order to obtain a service provider card. According to the explanatory memorandum, a Government Regulation currently sets out the requirement of B1 level language proficiency for drivers of public transport vehicles but despite this a large number of people whose Estonian language skills do not meet the requirements work as taxi drivers.

During the debate, Evelin Poolamets took the floor on behalf of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party Group and Tõnis Lukas on behalf of Isamaa Parliamentary Group.

The lead committee moved to reject the Bill at the first reading. 39 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and 15 voted against. Thus, the motion was supported, and the Bill was dropped from the legislative proceedings of the Riigikogu.

Establishment of a Hiiumaa support group

After the sitting, members of the Riigikogu are planning to form the Hiiumaa Support Group on the initiative of Member of the Riigikogu Reili Rand.

Photos (Author: Erik Peinar / Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)

Video recording will be available to watch later on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.

Riigikogu Press Service
Merilin Kruuse
+372 631 6592, +372 510 6179
[email protected]
Questions: [email protected]