Kindergarten fees in Estonia would not be raised

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) and the Reform Party, which are in coalition talks in Tartu, have agreed kindergarten fees will not be raised in the city next year.
On Wednesday, the SDE and Reform Party focused on finding common ground in the area of education, following on from discussions about environmental issues and town planning on Tuesday.

Heljo Pikhof, the leader of the SDE Tartu faction, told ERR there are many problems with preschool education. SDE want pre-primary education to continue to be the subject of collective bargaining agreements, for nursery school teachers’ salaries to rise in line with school teachers’ salaries, and for support professionals to be available to all children in kindergarten.

Pikhof said: “Well, what we agreed on was the kindergarten place fee – next year the kindergarten place fee will not increase. But what [we] failed [to agree] was to decouple it from the minimum wage. This is for the future. We will definitely analyse the results of the kindergarten reform that has been carried out in Tartu, and then we will think how we can move forward.”

She said not increasing kindergarten fees will cost the city €545,000.

The Reform Party’s Urmas Klaas said fees for kindergarten must remain linked to the minimum wage as it will ensure better provision of early childhood education.

“It is important for our pre-school education to be of high quality and to become even better. For pre-school education to be sustainable, and. to guarantee all these things to the people of Tartu in a sustainable manner, the link with the minimum wage as required by law is very necessary,” he said.

The previous coalition between the Center Party and the Reform Party collapsed earlier this week.

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