Estonia’s largest trade unions and student organizations in the education and research sector have just signed a joint education agreement. The organizations are motivated by a common concern about the sustainability of Estonian education and the free availability of Estonian-language education. The aim is to increase the motivation of employees in the field of education, including job and salary stability, and to oppose the rewarding of higher education in Estonian.
A social agreement to ensure the development and sustainability of Estonian education
By sharing a common conception that high-quality, accessible education with stable funding is of strategically decisive importance for the well-being of the Estonian people and the continuation of society, the parties to this agreement highlight the key objectives for ensuring the sustainability of education. It is high time to take decisive action against the chronic underfunding, great lack of a new generation, overburdened employees and unstable research funding in the Estonian educational sector, which severely undermine the future of the Estonian society and state. We support a proactive long-term strategy with sufficient financial cover to ensure the salary security of educational practitioners both now and in the distant future.
- The undersigned are standing for increasing the state funding of the salary fund of both higher education and general education teachers to at least 1.5% of the GDP and maintaining the funding at least at the same level in the future. To this end, there is a need to set forth in the 2021 state budget strategy that the target level be reached within three years by adding equal parts of funding.
- In addition to sustainable funding, the parties view free Estonian-language higher education as a public good that must be ensured free access.
- Increase in state funding must ensure all educational practitioners motivating work conditions (incl. job and salary stability) and their duties must fit into the working time set forth by law.
- The undersigned support the appreciation of the profession of a teacher in society:
a career system must be developed which motivates people to become a teacher and continue working in this profession.
The salary of a nursery teacher must remain linked to the salary of a school teacher and form at least 90% of the latter’s minimum salary.
It is important to consider vocational teachers equal to general school teachers and increase trust in vocational education – a vocational school diploma must ensure the opportunity to continue studies in higher education.
- Student scholarships and grants must be adjusted to changes in the cost of living.
Federation of Estonian Student Unions
Estonian Educational Personnel Union
Council of Academic Trade Unions (Trade Unions of the University of Tartu, Tallinn University and the Estonian University of Life Sciences)
UNIVERSITAS, Federation of the Trade Unions of Estonian Higher Education-, Research and Development Institutions
Estonian Young Academy of Sciences
Estonian School Students Councils´ Union