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Cooperation agreement and its results

Clause 4.2 of the coalition agreement is higher education and research funding. The fact that higher education was included in the coalition agreement gives an idea that it was really talked about and the students' voice was heard, it was taken more seriously and discussed. However, we cannot be absolutely sure how and if these points will be fulfilled.

The future Minister of Education and Science is Kristina Kallas, who has said that universities will have the opportunity to ask for money for Estonian-language education. The agreement supports free Estonian-language higher education, but universities may, in certain cases, establish tuition fees for Estonian-language studies as well. In other words, we will have free education in Estonian, but the universities can change it themselves.

4.2.4 brings the possibility to ask for tuition fees in doctor studies in exceptional cases - in a situation where the succession of researchers and academic staff in Estonia is in a rather difficult situation and the number of students entering doctoral studies has decreased by a third in the last ten years.

In addition, it is promised to increase the operating support of higher education by 15% in the next three years and to increase the involvement of private money in order to increase the financing of higher education to 1.5% of GDP. Incentives are created for the growth of companies' higher education investments. To increase funding, the offer of paid learning opportunities will be expanded (for example, part-time studies, one-year master's programs). According to the EÜL, this has its dangers, it can open Pandora's box, where more one-year study programs are directed towards, where the cuts in study material can be quite large, and the process in general does not coincide with European trends to harmonize higher education with the 3+2 Bologna system (bachelor's + master's).

The most important point for students is definitely 4.2.9, where it is promised to double the need-based study support. After 10 years of stagnation, we can finally hope that 75 euros could become 150 euros. Currently, it is 75, 135 or 220 euros, depending on the student's average monthly income per family member. The point is very general and at the moment it is not known when and under what conditions it will happen. The student unions also asked to change that the student is separated from his household income when the student is 21 years old, not like now, when it happens only at the age of 24, whether it will be changed in the following years, we don't know yet.

4.2.8 student loan reform is allowed, the tuition amount is increased by €6,000 and the repayment period is extended. However, a lot also depends on the interest rate and other terms of the contract that come with it. At the moment, there are not many students who would take a student loan, and this way of thinking should also be changed in such a case.

At the moment, the coalition agreement seems good and supportive of higher education, but the conditions will become clear during the work, and because of this, one cannot sit completely still, but must monitor how all these points are implemented so that they support higher education.


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