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Estonia opens Freedom School for Ukrainian war refugees and sets up educational advisory service

In Tallinn, Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research is creating a total of 1,000 additional places in general and vocational education for Ukrainian refugee children to continue their education. An educational advisory service for Ukrainians will also be set up.

According to Minister of Education and Reaearch Liina Kersna, more than 13,000 children and young people up to 19 years of age have arrived in Estonia from Ukraine and must not have their education disrupted by the war. “Since most families from Ukraine are in the capital, Tallinn already has a heavy burden in providing educational opportunities for children. More than 1,600 Ukrainian children are registered in Estonian Education Information System in Tallinn, and there are still a few thousand who are known to need a place in educational institutions,” Kersna explains. “We share the responsibility for teaching Ukrainian children in general education, i.e. in agreement with the city we will create a separate study place for students in grades 7-12 and offer additional places in the vocational schools of Tallinn.”

A separate study site called Freedom School (Vabaduse Kool in Estonian and Школа Cвободи in Ukrainian) will be created at the Tallinn Tõnismae State Gymnasium and launched on 1 September 2022. The study site for Ukrainian war refugees will provide 800 places in general education for pupils in grades 7-12. At least 60% of the lessons at the school will be taught in Estonian. The new school will be headed by Olga Selishtcheva, who has worked as the head of the INSA Tallinn Estonian Language House and as a teacher and lecturer in general education. Applications will be accepted from 1 June.

In addition, in Tallinn, additional places will be created in the state vocational training institutions for Ukrainian war refugees as part of the vocational selection curriculum, where pupils will be able to acquire basic professional and Estonian language skills.

Educational counselling services for Ukrainian children, young people and parents will also be offered to help them find the most suitable learning opportunities at primary, general and vocational level and to help them choose a career. Counselling services will start on 1 June at Tõnismägi 14 in Tallinn and can be reached locally and by telephone.

As of 22 May 2022, 13,409 children and young people from Ukraine up to the age of 19 live in Estonia. As of yesterday, 4,716 children and young people were registered in the Estonian Education Information System (EHIS). The breakdown by level of education is as follows: primary education 1,231 26.1%, basic education 3,114 66.0%, upper secondary education 191 4.1%, vocational education 180 3.8%.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Education and Research