Integration Calendar - April 2008


Estonian Integration Plan 2008-2013 reached the Government

What is it?

The national programme Integration in Estonian Society 2000-2007 ended in 2007. For the next six years, integration policy in Estonia will be based on the Estonian Integration Plan 2008-2013.

The integration plan is an action plan for government agencies and other institutions in the area of integration.

How was it prepared?

Preparation of the integration plan started in December 2005, when Minister Paul-Eerik Rummo gave the terms of reference for the integration plan to the Government of the Republic. Minister Urve Palo has been responsible for integration issues in the Government and for the completion of this development plan since April 2007.

Approximately 100 people took part in the preparation of the new plan and its implementation plan on different levels.

A 25-member expert committee was created for the preparation of the development plan at the initiative of the Office of the Minister of Population in spring 2006. The committee consisted of specialists from different areas of integration, members of Riigikogu and representatives of employers, employees, research institutions, non-government institutions and organisations of ethnic minorities. The task of the committee was to collect data and perform background checks in order to ascertain the target group, primary and secondary goals, realisation principles and plan, assessment criteria and required completion tools of the intended integration plan.

A 7-member work group was created to assist the expert committee. The work group gathered and analysed the proposals submitted by ministries and their agencies and used them as the basis for the preparation of the working version of an area development plan. Russian-speaking experts from different areas of integration were also involved in discussions of the working version of the development plan.

A supporting consortium consisting of Centre for Policy Studies PRAXIS, University of Tartu, Baltic Research Institute, Hill & Knowlton Estonia and Geomedia joined the preparations of the development plan in May 2007. The task of the consortium was to support the development of the integration plan with research, strategic consultations, a communication plan and study travel.

The target groups and social partners of the integration plan have had the opportunity to present their own proposals in respect of the integration plan in order to achieve a consensus in the society about the goals and activities of the development plan. The development plan was approved by the Government of the Republic of 25 January 2007 and published on the homepage of the Office of the Minister of Population. On 1 August 2007, the official working version of the national programme was published on the involvement website In addition to this, the draft of the integration plan and all relevant questions were sent for review to almost 1000 social partners (incl. local governments, schools, universities, ethnic culture associations, youth associations, business organisations, etc.).

Three public information and feedback seminars about integration were held in Tallinn and Jõhvi in the beginning of September 2007. The priorities of the integration plan were discussed at these seminars with the representatives of associated groups. Participants had the opportunity submit specific amendment proposals about the working version of the development plan. In addition to the research conducted in summer and autumn of 2007 (both in the format of public opinion polls and group discussions), more than 200 amendment proposals have been received in the course of a public discussion. All amendment proposals were studied by the representatives of ministries and the expert commission and they were an important input for the preparation of the national programme.

What is integration?

Integration is a friendly and safe coexistence based on mutual acceptance and respect between different social groups.

Integration will occur when all people living in Estonia have equal interest, desire and opportunities to contribute to the development of the state and participate in community life regardless of their nationality and native language.

What are the bases of the integration plan?

Preparation of the integration plan was based on the following principles:

  • The core values of Europe (democracy, a state based on the rule of law, an individual’s right to self-determination, cultural diversity);
  • Constitutional values (Estonian as the official language of the state and everyone’s right to preserve their national identity);
  • Guarantee of equal opportunities regardless of nationality and native language;
  • Avoiding separation on the grounds of nationality;
  • Strengthening the identity of the state

What are the objectives the integration plan?

The integration plan will be realised in three different areas:

  • educational and cultural,
  • social and economic,
  • legal political integration.

What is the expected output of integration?

The integration plan stipulates the measures and activities that will be taken and realised on the national or local level, but also though the civil society.

Integrating the population of Estonia is a long-term process and its objective is to create a culturally diverse society that gives a strong identity to the state of Estonia and consists of people who share common democratic values and communicate in the Estonian language in the public sphere. The integration plan supports this proceeding from the principles and obligations of a democratic state based on the rule of law.

The objective of the integration plan is to emphasise to every permanent resident of Estonia that they belong in our society through shared values and command of the official language of the state. As a result of successful integration, everyone will be able to realise themselves and feel safe as they participate in the economic, social, political and cultural lives of the society. Estonia has created the opportunities for speaking other languages and developing ethnic cultures.

The integration plan sets itself the goal that by 2013, the country is in a situation where, when compared to 2007:

  • command of the Estonian language among people for whom Estonian is not their native language has improved on all levels;
  • contacts and communication between people with different native languages have become more frequent and the differences in the participation of people who do and do not speak Estonian in citizens’ associations and the public sphere have decreased;
  • the share of persons with undefined citizenship among the population of Estonia has decreased constantly;
  • the majority of people living in Estonia trust people of other nationalities and vice versa;
  • the majority of people whose native language is not Estonian receive regular information through Estonian language media and trust this information;
  • the differences in the employment and income between people of different nationalities have decreased.

Structure of the integration plan

The integration plan consists of two parts: the strategy that stipulates the objectives of the plan and the implementation plan that gives an overview of planned activities and their cost.

The integration plan will be submitted to the Government of the Republic for approval within the next few weeks.

For further information please contact Mart Soonik from the Support Unit

Information events and information materials for people taking part in Estonian language courses

The Procurement of Communication Services for the National Examination and Qualification Centre organised within the framework of the Support for the Implementation of the National Integration Programme and for the Capacity-Building of Integration-Related Institutions project was won by Alfa-Omega Communications OÜ.

The goal of the procurement is to strengthen the system of examinations in Estonian language proficiency in the National Examination and Qualification Centre and to increase the awareness of the non-Estonian-speaking part of our population of the requirements and organisation of language proficiency examinations and examinations in the knowledge of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Citizenship Act through communication activities associated with such the examinations. All communication activities support transition to the language proficiency levels defined in the European Language Learning Framework Document prepared at the initiative of the Council of Europe, which is expected to be completed in July 2008.

These communication activities involve informing the public of any changes in the Estonian language proficiency examinations in Estonian and Russian language media, organisation of information events in Tallinn and Ida-Virumaa and preparation and printing of a total of 60,000 copies of different information materials.

The target group of the training consists of persons who must be proficient in the Estonian language pursuant to Section 5 of the Language Act and its implementation acts, but who at the time of the activities lack the Estonian language proficiency required for working in their position, and applicants for the citizenship of the Republic of Estonia, who have to take an Estonian language proficiency examination and an examination in the knowledge of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and the Citizenship Act. A more indirect target group consists of language training companies, employers and the whole Estonian and non-Estonian language public.

The project is being funded from the resources of EU Transitional Support and the Ministry of Education.

For further information please contact: Citizens Education Unit, Inna Pusikova

Big books for kindergartens

In the beginning of April, the Language Immersion Centre of the Integration Foundation will send out invitation to tender in order to find contractors who will print 14 picture books and deliver them to different counties.

The 2008 implementation plan of the Estonian Integration Plan 2000-2013 stipulates the distribution of a series of large format books written for language immersion kindergartens to all Estonian kindergartens. The set of picture books is aimed at children aged 5 to 7. The books provide the following: material for practicing vocabulary and developing speech; material and examples for revision of certain expressions; impulses for reproduction and development of words and texts; joy of improvisation for kindergarten teachers in presenting example and listening texts.

The format of the books allows groups of up to 20 children to read them together (and describe the pictures). The books should reach kindergartens by the start of the new study year.

Training in new language immersion methods about to being

In April, the Language Immersion Centre of the Foundation will start offering training in language immersion methods, which will take place in four groups. In addition to two groups where the working language is Estonian, there will be another two groups where the working language is Russian, but which offer the opportunity to practice Estonian. The training is meant for teachers of immersion classes, but teachers of ordinary schools that work with non-Estonian language children can also participate by agreement.

Training will take place according to the curriculum of language immersion methods and its total volume is 80 hours. The training consists of four sessions. The training will be organised by trainers of the Language Immersion Centre and certificates will be issued to everyone who has passed the training.


Competition for extracurricular language learning projects

The goal of the competition for extracurricular language learning projects is to support young people who do not speak Estonian as their native language in acquiring Estonian through extracurricular activities and by the peer training method.

Invitations to participate in the competition were sent to non-profit organisations that plan extracurricular activities for young people up to 18 years of age for the period of 1 May to 20 September 2008.

The application deadline was 11 am on 14 March 2008. 22 applications were received by the deadline. The results of the competition will be announced in the second week of April.

For further information please contact: Culture and Youth Work Unit, Lianne Ristikivi

Base financing of culture associations of national minorities in 2008

The purpose of the application stage is to support preservation of the languages and culture of ethnic minorities through reimbursement of the current expenses of the umbrella organisations of national culture associations and/or art collectives (hereinafter support).

The submitted applications must contribute to the achievement of at least one of the following objectives:

  1. texpansion of knowledge of the cultures of national minorities and informing the society of Estonia of the activities of culture associations of national minorities;
  2. acknowledgement of the multicultural nature of Estonia and introduction of the aspects of the cultures of national minorities to the society of Estonian via cultural projects aimed at the public (public events, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, TV and radio programmes, leaflets, etc.);
  3. development of cooperation with the culture associations of other national minorities (public events, lectures, exhibitions, etc.);
  4. development of cooperation with Estonian culture associations (public events, lectures, exhibitions, etc.);

The application deadline was 4 pm on 4 March 2008. 43 applications were received by the deadline and they consisted of the documents of 231 organisations. The results of the competition will be announced in the second week of April.

For further information please contact: Culture and Youth Work Unit, Iris Järv

Competition of integration development grants

Development grant is a public grant allocated by the Integration Foundation to persons who completed the projects supported in 2007. Grants are given in three categories (public law agencies, third sector organisations and national culture associations), they amount to 20,000 kroons each and their aim is to support the development of integration work.

The grants are allocated by a committee created by the Integration Foundation, which assesses all applications proceeding from the content of the project, innovation, the opportunity to use experience, the number of different target groups involved and the opinions of the persons who participated in the project.

Recipients of the 2007 development grants will be announced at the 10th birthday of the Integration Foundation in Salme Culture Centre on 3 April 2008. A certificate that confirms receipt of the grant will be issued to all recipients.

For further information please contact: Culture and Youth Work Unit, Kristina Pirgop.