Structural integration of young Russian speakers in post-Soviet contexts: attainment of education and transition to the labour market
New member joins Counselling Centre team
Narva opinion festival overturns undetermined citizenship myths
Estonian language studies to continue this summer
Sunday school teachers to travel to their ethnic homelands for in-service training
Estonian language and culture to be studied at youth camps this summer
Dissertations linked to the field of integration
This thesis by Kristina Lindemann from 2013 focuses on the performance at school, educational transition and labour market entry (also known as structural integration) of Russian speakers aged 15-35 in Estonia who obtained their education in the post-Soviet era. The data for analysis was taken from four large-scale surveys: PISA (2006); the Estonian TIES survey (2007-2008); the Youth Transition survey in Ukraine (2007); and the Estonian Labour Force Surveys 2002-2011. The important question in this thesis is how ethnicity and language skills can influence an individual’s attainment of education and their labour market outcomes and how these influences depend on such contextual effects as linguistically divided educational systems and linguistic contexts on the labour market. Comparisons are also made between Estonia and Latvia, and Estonia and Ukraine.
The results show that, contrary to other findings in Western European countries, where the gap in education attainment between second-generation immigrants and the ethnic majority compared to their parents’ generation is decreasing, in Estonia the gap between the ethnic majority and minority increased over the generation. According to the PISA test results, students at schools with Russian as the language of instruction achieved lower results, in particular in mathematics, than students in ethnic-majority schools (i.e. with Estonian as the language of instruction). The PISA 2012 results, published after this dissertation was completed, confirm this gap, which has however decreased over time. The socio-economic status of students and of parents in particular tends to play an important role in school achievement, which may in part explain the lower results of schools with Russian as the language of instruction. Another important factor is language proficiency.
This dissertation also shows that Russian speakers are significantly less likely than Estonians to continue their studies at general secondary school so as to pursue higher education, instead obtaining vocational training and moving directly to the labour market. There is a strong belief among Estonia’s ethnic minorities – even those with higher education and good language skills – that ethnicity shapes opportunities on the labour market, which may explain why minority youth do not choose to pursue a more ambitious education pathway (higher education).
The study also shows that compared to young Estonians, second-generation Russians are less successful upon entering the labour market and have lower prospects of being promoted. Estonian language proficiency plays a very important role, and the study shows that the importance of ethnicity differs by region, with ethnic differentiation being significantly smaller in regions with a small minority population (regions outside of Tallinn and north-eastern Estonia). In Tallinn, for example, young Russian-speakers with good Estonian language skills experience longer periods of unemployment and secure jobs of lower quality than Estonians. Social capital and communication networks seem to be important factors in this respect, which in regions with a large minority population and high ethnic segmentation may be lacking among Russian-speaking youth.
The conclusions from the study suggest that greater inclusion by the ethnic majority group, stronger inter-ethnic contact and Estonian language proficiency promote the educational success of young Russian speakers as well as their entry to the labour market.
Further reading: http://www.etera.ee/zoom/2041/view?page=3&p=separate&view=0,0,2067,2834.
Integration Foundation activities
Joining the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) Counselling Centre in April was Olga Žukova. Olga will be in charge of organising events as well as helping out at them by offering technical support and advising residents.
Olga previously spent many years consulting clients in the tourism field. Thanks to her understanding of people she is able to quickly resolve problems and answer any questions that residents have. She also has experience of marketing and event management. She is very thorough in everything she does, thinking things through to the smallest detail to ensure that an event is a success.
Olga’s contact details can be found on the MISA website at http://www.meis.ee/tootajate-kontaktandmed.
An opinion festival was held for the second time in Narva on 21 May at which integration topics came up for discussion. During this debate, which was organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA), those involved looked at the future of people with undetermined citizenship in Estonia, the misconceptions that are prevalent in society in regard to them and their actual situation.
Discussing the topic ‘The future of people with undetermined citizenship: myths and reality’ on the festival’s partners’ stage were migration expert and Estonian Academy of Security Sciences Centre for Migration Studies project manager Eva-Maria Asari, Police and Border Guard board Eastern prefecture Jõhvi police department senior officer Thea Roots, journalist and activist Roman Vikulin, former union leader Vladimir Aleksejev and Integration Foundation director Dmitri Burnašev. The discussion was led by the foundation’s Narva-based counsellor Natalja Vovdenko, who shone the spotlight on myths that are prevalent among residents.
In raising the topic, MISA sought to overturn myths and misunderstandings surrounding people with undetermined citizenship. During the debate the participants shared information and explanations on what the lives of such people are like in Estonia and what has been done to reduce the number of people without defined citizenship.
The participants emphasised a number of times that there is no point speculating whether people with undetermined citizenship have made a decision regarding which country they consider to be their homeland. Roman Vikulin and Vladimir Aleksejev remarked that a large proportion of people without defined citizenship have invested themselves in Estonia and do hold strong, positive feelings towards the country. They nevertheless admitted that on certain issues there are differences of opinion – for example, what bothers people with undetermined citizenship most of all is the fact that the ‘grey passports’ they carry bear the English title “Alien’s passport”, which can of course suggest not only foreigners but also ‘strangers’ or indeed ‘aliens’.
The biggest obstacle in applying for Estonian citizenship is considered to be the requirement to be able to speak Estonian. In some cases, decisions in this regard are also purely pragmatic, since undetermined citizenship makes travelling to Russia much easier.
At the same time, those taking part in the discussion conceded that the issue of undetermined citizenship is no longer as topical as it once was or as problematic among young people: just 3% of those without defined citizenship in Estonia are below the age of 25. Also very important is the change in law which came into effect on 1 January this year which now means that any child born in Estonia to a parent with undetermined citizenship is automatically granted Estonian citizenship.
In summarising their discussion, the participants came to the conclusion that explaining the myths surrounding people with undetermined citizenship and their actual situation and raising the issue in society is necessary in order to overturn misconceptions and bring those with conflicting opinions together.
Information on Estonian language studies
As at the end of May a total of 1984 people had joined the Estonian language courses at the A2, B1 and B2 levels being organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA), divided up into 124 groups. The majority of these people will complete their courses before the high season for summer holidays begins.
1167 people had already completed their studies by the end of May. Of those, 938 (80.38%) completed the courses successfully. “We consider anyone who’s attended at least 80% of their lessons to have completed their course successfully,” explained Jana Tondi, the head of language and cultural immersion with the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People. “229 people withdrew from the courses or only managed to attend less than 80% of their classes.”
As at 31 May there were 817 people on Estonian language courses, divided between 51 groups in Tallinn, Narva, Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Sillamäe, Ahtme, Tartu and Pärnu. All of these groups will complete their studies by Midsummer or 1 September.
Courses for two groups in Tallinn will be starting in early July, one of which will be studying Estonian on the basis of English and the other on the basis of Russian. A further 528 people will then commence studies in August and September in 33 groups which will be put together in June.
The Estonian language courses are being run until 30 November this year by Keelepisik, the Edukool foundation and Folkuniversitetet Estonia. The courses run by two other training companies – Mitteldorf and the NPO Atlasnet – will come to an end by September.
A new procurement will be launched in June with the aim of finding organisers for language courses for the 2520 people who registered for Estonian studies on MISA website last summer.
The Integration and Migration Foundation Our People is organising free Estonian courses at the A2, B1 and B2 levels until 2020 as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund.
For further information please contact: Jana Tondi | Head of language and cultural immersion, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]
Results of project competitions
The month of May saw the end of a project competition organised by the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) to support the in-service training of national minority Sunday school teachers in their ethnic homelands. 10 applications were received from teachers, of whom eight will get the chance to return to their historical homelands this summer to broaden their knowledge.
“Taking part in in-service training – especially in the countries whose languages and cultures the teachers are teaching – is very much needed from the point of view of high-quality studies,” said Kristina Pirgop, the head of partnership relations with the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People. “In order for the teachers to be able to offer their students appropriate and contemporary studies of their mother tongue and culture, the teachers have to constantly educate themselves as well. It goes without saying that the best and most up-to-date information they’re going to get is in the country itself whose language and culture they’re teaching.” Pirgop explained that the Sunday schools were applying for the financial means to cover the study, travel and accommodation costs of the teachers in order for them to be able to take part in training on their mother tongue. “A number of the courses that are offered in the relevant countries are free for the teachers,” she added. “For example, Sunday school teachers can take part in the studies being offered at the summer school in Armenia completely free of charge.”
Aided by the competition, teachers will be taking part in in-service training this summer in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia and Tatarstan.
In-service training for national minority Sunday school teachers in their ethnic homelands is financed from the state budget via the Ministry of Education and Research.
For further information please contact: Kristina Pirgop | Head of partnership relations, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9024 | E-mail: [email protected]
The long-awaited summer holidays are here, and what could be more fun for kids than spending part of them at a camp – somewhere they can talk to people their own age, play sports, go hiking, make new friends and have lots of fun? The Integration and Migration Foundation Our People (MISA) is contributing to the success of such summer camps this year by supporting the implementation of activities showcasing Estonian language and culture at ongoing camps, the promotion of Estonian language and culture at project camps and Estonian language and culture studies as part of family stays.
Both camp activities and family studies give youngsters the chance to discover Estonian cultural space – the country, its history and important sights and places – as well as to hone their language skills by communicating with Estonians their own age. “Based on the feedback we’ve got from participants in previous years, taking part in the camps and the family studies has really given these kids the courage to speak Estonian, and they’ve also discovered some exciting places around the country and made new friends they keep in touch with afterwards,” said Jana Tondi, the head of language and cultural immersion with the Integration and Migration Foundation Our People. “It’s important to us that the projects we support offer the kids a range of activities that encourage spontaneous communication in Estonian – real dialogue on everyday issues that young people identify with.”
Studies of Estonian language and culture at a camp or while staying with a family are designed for young people aged 7-19 who live in Estonia but whose mother tongue is a language other than Estonian, as well as for Estonians of the same age who speak the language as their mother tongue to provide support to other camp-goers. This year MISA is supporting the participation of 1408 youngsters in the Estonian language and culture programmes of ongoing camps. 100 young people will also get to take part in an Estonian language project camp, while a further 34 will be practising their Estonian as part of family stays. The language and culture camp projects will be taking place from June to October.
The activities showcasing Estonian language and culture at ongoing camps are being carried out this year by three organisations: Lastekaitse Liidu Lastelaagrite OÜ, Optimum Semper OÜ and Valgemetsa Puhkeküla OÜ.
Project camps promoting Estonian language and culture are being organised for young people by Narva School no. 6 and Keila Municipal Government. Estonian language and culture studies in families are being organised for 34 youngsters at five different times during summer by the NPO Veeda Vaheaeg Võrumaal.
Groups have been or will be put together by the organisers of the camps and family studies. The contact details of the organisers receiving support in 2016 can be found on MISA website.
Estonian language and culture studies at project camps are being supported to a value of 11,400 euros, Estonian language and culture studies in families to a value of 12,240 euros and the implementation of Estonian language and culture programmes at ongoing camps to a value of 17,772 euros.
The organisation of such studies within families and at camps is financed from the state budget by the Ministry of Culture.
For further information please contact: Jana Tondi |Head of language and cultural immersion, MISA | Telephone: +372 659 9069 | E-mail: [email protected]