The Future for the Next Generation of Teachers

The Foresight Centre begins to carry out a study on the effectiveness of the school network and schools in Estonia

The Foresight Centre in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research is beginning to carry out a study on the effectiveness of the school network and schools in Estonia so that we could better understand the challenges involved in the transition to inclusive education and make smart choices when planning the school network in Estonia.

According to the Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas, the planned study will give and overview of the school network as a whole, and one of the topics to be looked at will be the length of the trip to school for children and consequently also the optimum locations for schools. “I am making every effort to ensure that children could go to school near their home until the sixth grade, and relevant support measures are also being developed in the Government to preserve small country schools,” the minister explained.

Eneli Kindsiko, Expert and Head of Research of the Foresight Centre, said that Estonia was facing a serious threat of educational stratification and the onset of a regional education gap which inevitably involved tensions in communities over the closing of schools. “At the same time, with adoption of the novel approaches to relieve the shortage of teachers that are used in other countries, it will also be possible for Estonia to make the school network more future-proof, for example, a radical rethinking of the education model of country schools and more successful implementation of education technology,” Kindsiko said.

The crisis of the future of the teaching profession is deepened all over Estonia by a crisis of support specialists, that is, school psychologists, social pedagogy specialists and other specialists needed in implementing inclusive education. “Both labour crises are of a regional nature – the situation is the most critical in the future perspective in the marginal regions of Estonia. Inevitably, the need for new teachers heavily depends on the organisation of the school network and today we are in a situation where much less well-off local governments are unable to sustain the half-empty and depreciating school buildings and to offer full-time work to teachers,” Kindsiko said.

The first stage of the study “Effectiveness of Schools and the School Network” will focus on the effectiveness of schools, and we will carry out an analysis of the school network as a whole in the second stage. Within the framework of the study, a spatial analysis of the network of general education schools in Estonia will also be made. The aim will be to analyse the length of the trip to school for students and to identify the most suitable locations for schools. The final report of the study will be completed this autumn.

The study “Effectiveness of Schools and the School Network” is part of the Foresight Centre’s line of research “The future of the teaching profession”. The aim of the Foresight Centre’s line of study “The future of the teaching profession” is to develop scenarios on the need for teachers and the future of the teaching profession until 2040 on the basis of global and national trends.

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