State secondary schools to bring rural area education up to par with cities
In her remarks on the occasion of the beginning of the new school year, Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Centre) said that it is the mission of state secondary schools to provide an education on a par with the quality delivered by schools in Estonia’s cities, and work with novel methods of teaching.
“State gymnasiums have a mission: to offer high-level secondary school education with a diverse range of options everywhere in Estonia. The new schools are not only new buildings, but introduce novel teaching and learning. For young people to have enough choices and a modern learning environment, the state will set up a state gymnasium in each county centre and major city,” Reps said according to spokespeople for the Ministry of Education and Research.
Unlike regular secondary schools, which normally operate under the same roof with basic schools and are run by Estonia’s municipalities, state secondary schools are financed by the government and only teach grades 10 to 12. The aim of the network of state secondary schools is to make secondary education in Estonia’s more remote areas of a quality equal to that offered by schools in the major cities.
This autumn three new state secondary schools will open in Rapla, Paide and the municipality of Viimsi bordering Tallinn, bringing the total number to 15. Of the three new schools, two—Rapla and Viimsi—will take up work in brand new buildings as well. The state secondary school in Paide opens in the premises of the former Järva County vocational education centre.
The activity of each state secondary school is based on a quality agreement by which the principal, teachers, students and the state agree on the results that the gymnasium will try to achieve, and the prerequisites for the creation of an appropriate learning environment.
The first county state secondary school in Estonia opened in Viljandi exactly six years ago.
A state secondary in the northeastern industrial city of Kohtla-Järve is set to open in the autumn of 2019, and another in Tabasalu near Tallinn in 2020. Agreements have been concluded on the establishment of such schools also in Rakvere, Kuressaare, Narva, in the rural municipality of Saue near Tallinn, in Tallinn, and in the rural municipality of Rae, also near Tallinn.
The national school network development program calls for 24 state secondary schools to take up work by 2023, including one in each of Estonia’s 15 counties.