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Tallinn invests in teacher salaries and transition to Estonian-language education with supplemental budget

Tallinn invests in teacher salaries and transition to Estonian-language education with supplemental budget

The Tallinn City Government has submitted a supplemental budget to the City Council for approval, which focuses significantly on supporting and developing the education sector. The revised budget increases the education sector allocation by 10.54 million euros, leading to substantial investments in raising teacher salaries and transitioning to Estonian-language education.

Deputy Mayor Aleksei Jašin highlighted the significant decisions made by the Tallinn City Government to support the development of the education sector. "Investments and increased operating costs for education were agreed upon during coalition negotiations and confirmed during the preparation of the supplemental budget. Supporting education is particularly crucial now as the education system faces multiple challenges, including teacher recruitment and the transition to Estonian-language education," noted Jašin. "Previously, the city relied solely on state-allocated funds for teacher salaries, but for the first time, Tallinn has decided to provide additional funds from its own budget for teacher salaries. By investing in education, we are building a stronger future and ensuring long-term education quality, proper compensation, and motivation for teachers."

The 2024 supplemental budget proposal includes an additional 6.5 million euros for teacher salary funds. In the education sector, the minimum wage for teachers and support specialists will increase from 1803 euros to 1820 euros, and the minimum wage for teacher aides will rise from 1085 euros to 1092 euros.

The budget also increases the differentiated salary fund for school teachers by 4 million euros annually. This fund allows school principals to further motivate teachers by paying them salaries above the minimum wage based on their contributions, helping to retain current teachers and attract new ones, as many positions in the city's schools remain unfilled. One-third of this amount is planned for the 2024 supplemental budget to cover salary increases from September to the end of the year. The remaining amount will be allocated in the 2025 budget.

To support the transition to Estonian-language education, teachers will be supported through language immersion projects and intensive Estonian language training. Additionally, support will be provided to Estonian-language schools and kindergartens, which see an increasing number of students each year whose native language is not Estonian, as many non-Estonian-speaking parents prefer to enroll their children in Estonian-language educational institutions. The supplemental budget allocates 0.5 million euros for schools and 0.5 million euros for kindergartens to specifically fund measures for the transition to Estonian-language education starting from the new academic year. Starting from 2025, this will amount to a total of 3 million euros annually. The allocation of funds to institutions will be based on the number of non-Estonian-speaking children in the educational institution.

The additional funding for the education sector, 7 million euros annually—4 million euros for the differentiated salary fund and 3 million euros for supporting the transition to Estonian-language education—is planned as a recurring expense. This funding should also be included in the budgets for subsequent years, although it is possible to reallocate the funds based on the progress of education agreement negotiations.