Estonian Language Inspectorate requests dismissal of teachers

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Apr 8 15:57:39 UTC 2005


Estonian Language Inspectorate requests dismissal of teachers for failing
language exam

Alexander Shegedin, Tallinn 4/2/2005

I would like to dismiss them, but they are very good teachers, said Mrs
Jevgenija Lindevaldt, director of the Tartu Russian-medium Annelinna
gymnasium (secondary school). What can I do if they have ignored Estonian?
The comment from Mrs. Lindevaldt came as she refused to take action on a
request from the Estonian Language Inspectorate to dismiss five teachers
who failed their Estonian language exam.

The teachers attended special courses, but failed tests on special
language certificates. Two of them are of pensionable age, and to fire
them will be complicated legally. Also, Estonian labour legislation is
unclear over dismissal on the grounds of lack of Estonian language skills.

For now teachers continue to attend courses, and Lindevaldt hopes that
they will pass their language exams before June 1st, a deadline set by the
Language Inspectorate (LI). I believe theyll do it, said Lindevaldt.

LI official Leho Klaser explained to Eurolang that the LI has demanded
that Annelinna schoolteachers have language certificates, these are
compulsory in Russian-medium schools according to Estonian language law.
LI has a right to expect the law to be observed, but the power to dismiss
a teacher is in the directors hands.

LI have stated that the Annelinna gymnasia was checked several times with
no improvements between inspections. For some teachers deadlines were
postponed several times, but they still filed their exams. However,
according to Leho Klaser, the general situation in Tartu Russian-media
schools is better than in Tallinn or in northeastern towns, which are
populated mostly by Russians.

Annelinna gymnasia is the biggest Russian-medium secondary school in
Tartu. The majority of its pupils aim to continue education in Tartu
University where the language of education is in Estonian only, with the
exception of Russian philology. (Eurolang 2005)

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