Afterword

Soon after this chapter was first finished in March 2014, important changes took place in Estonian politics. The Prime Minister Andrus Ansip resigned his position in order to become a member of the EU Commission. The new prime minister’s Cabinet that was installed on 26 March was formed on the basis of a new coalition between the neo-liberal Reform Party and the Social Democrats, who thus replaced the nationalist-conservative Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica. Importantly, the position of Minister of Education and Science was given to a Social Democrat, the 28-year-old Jevgeni Ossinovski with an education in Political Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He was the first ethnic Russian ever to make it to the Cabinet after the reestablishment of Estonian independence. In June 2014, he appointed a commission in order to assess the process by which the tuition language was changed in formerly Russian Gymnasiums. The Commission’s report, delivered in September, confirmed many of the findings of previous studies by educational researchers, effectively stating that there was a lack of suitable teaching material, and that the language fluency of both the teachers and the students was in many cases insufficient in order for the reform to be successful. Among other recommendations, the report called for more flexibility with regard to the requirement that a minimum of 60% of tuition be in Estonian (Haridus- ja Teadusministeerium 2014). No political consequences have been drawn from these conclusions yet, nor has any secondary school yet been granted the permission to continue using Russian as the main medium of instruction. However, the developments hitherto show that there exist chances for overcoming the ideological obstacles rooted in nationalist policies and thus, for bringing the framework of formal rules closer to the demands of actual day-to-day practices.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >