MARCH 2014

Foundation supports Estonian language studies of third country doctors
Estonian language learning continues to develop vocational studies
Ukrainian Cultural Centre combines paper-making, exhibitions and performances
Azeri Sunday school to celebrate start of new solar year

Foundation supports Estonian language studies of third country doctors

The Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’ is providing 16 third country nationals working as doctors and 20 third country nationals working as medics at Ida-Viru Central Hospital with free Estonian language and society courses in order to raise their language skills to the required level. The project, which includes a 60-hour Estonian language and culture course, is designed to boost the participants’ fluency in the national language and to showcase the country’s history, society and way of life.

The project was launched in Ida-Viru County, where the participants live. “Since the county’s well known for its oil shale mining and industry, we took the participants on an excursion to the Kohtla mining park, as well as to Kukruse manor,” explained Anneli Bogens, director of communications at Ida-Viru Central Hospital. “They’ve also been taken to Tartu, where one of the things they were shown was Tartu University Hospital. An excursion to the capital’s planned for spring, where they’ll be taken to the national parliament and shown around the North Estonia Medical Centre. So far we’ve found that it’s important to the foreign medics working in our hospital for both them and their families to integrate into Estonian society, so their partners and kids have been brought along on the excursions, too.”

Moldovan ear, nose and throat doctor Ina Grumeza says that workers from foreign countries need to be given time to adapt and get used to their new surroundings. “My impressions from the excursions we’ve been taken on so far have been great!” she said.

“Our trip to Tartu in particular was really useful and informative – we met with Professor Margus Lember and consultant Margus Ulst from Tartu University Hospital, who told us a bit about the department of medicine there and how residencies are organised and showed us around the place. It was fun visiting the university, too, and the AHHAA centre and Vanemuine Theatre.”

According to the organiser of the project, the medics who are taking part in the project consider it very important to understand how the Estonian health care system works and to be familiar with local history and culture. They are also keen to be as aware as possible of civil rights and obligations in the country and of linguistic requirements.

During the course of the project the participants have made a large number of proposals for the drafting of an information leaflet that would include information about language-learning, educational and social services. An intranet is also being developed that will contain this same information as well as links to useful contacts and reference to databases and regulations in the field of health care.

The ‘Support for the adaptation of doctors from outside of the EU in Ida-Viru Central Hospital’ project is being supported as part of the ‘Raising awareness of integration’ project competition of the Integration and Migration Foundation. It is being financed from the state budget through the Ministry of Culture and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals as part of the ‘Estonian Integration Programme 2008-2013’.

For further information please contact:
Anneli Bogens, Director of Communications, Ida-Viru Central Hospital, E-mail: [email protected]

Maarja Mänd, Coordinator, Multicultural Education Unit, Integration and Migration Foundation, Telephone: +372 659 9853,  E-mail: [email protected]

Estonian language learning continues to develop vocational studies

The Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’ is continuing with three activities designed to develop vocational studies as part of the ‘Language Studies Development 2011-2013’ programme financed from the European Social Fund. Activities in question are additional Estonian language studies for vocational education. Also adult secondary students in-service training for teachers from vocational education institutions will be supported by the foundation, including the promotion of work placement options and the development of the popular professional language portal kutsekeel.ee. Development of consultation on the multicultural study system of vocational education institutions will also be supported by the foundation this year.

With the ‘Additional language studies for vocational education and adult secondary students’ project the Integration and Migration Foundation is offering vocational education institutions and adult secondary schools the chance to obtain support for the organisation of additional studies of the national language for students whose mother tongue is a language other than Estonian.

At least a further 150 vocational education students will be able to take part in the language studies, which are being provided on the proposal of the schools themselves. “This is a really useful way of learning Estonian, since we approach groups and professional fields individually, based on the needs of the school and the group,” said Jana Tondi, director of the foundation’s Lifelong Learning Unit.

“With the ‘In-service training for teachers from vocational education institutions’ project we’re offering these teachers an opportunity to take up places in vocational schools with Estonian as the language of instruction, and vice versa – giving Estonian teachers the chance to work in schools with Russian as the language of instruction but where the teaching takes place in Estonian,” Tondi explained. She says training will also be given to 20 people in 2014 on the implementation of integrated subject and language studies, and that Estonian language courses will be carried out in small groups involving at least 50 people.

“We’ll also be developing professional language studies in Estonian on the kutsekeel.ee website, gathering together teaching and methodology materials for professional language and distributing information about the professional language field so as to support cooperation between institutions,” Tondi added.

Teachers encouraged to gain experience in schools with other languages of instruction

Tondi is calling on teachers from vocational education institutions to make the most of free work placement opportunities, which are still available to all vocational teachers in the country. “We’re giving them the chance to shore up their skills in other schools for two weeks,” Tondi explained. “The placements are being supported at both ends – the schools sending the teachers and the schools receiving them – by support staff, so there’s no need to worry about being dropped in the deep end!”

As part of the ‘Development of consultation on the multicultural study system of vocational education institutions’ project, meetings with advisers and members of the vocational education school network will continue and consultation seminars will be held. Advisers will be providing consultations for vocational school directors and teachers from April through to October, including a range of knowledge from ways of implementing language studies to support studies for new immigrants. The principles of teacher consultation and multicultural education and teaching will also be examined as part of the project. The teachers and directors will be advised on how to more effectively take cultural, religious and value-based differences into account and reduce any tension that may arise.

All of these further activities are being organised as part of the ‘Language Studies Development 2011-2013’ programme, a measure of the ‘Lifelong Learning’ priority of the ‘Human Resources Development Plan’ financed by the European Social Fund. A total of 393 students from vocational education institutions and adult secondary schools completed additional Estonian language studies from 2011-2013, during which period 34 teachers undertook work placements and 79 vocational studies teachers completed in-service training on integrated subject and language teaching methodology. There were also six seminars for advisers and 118 consultation sessions.

For further information please contact:

‘Additional Estonian language studies for vocational education and adult secondary students’ activities – Tea Kotkas, Coordinator, Lifelong Learning Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9061, E-mail: [email protected]

‘In-service training for teachers from vocational education institutions’ and ‘Development of consultation on the multicultural study system of vocational education institutions’ activities – Liilika Raudhein, Coordinator, Lifelong Learning Unit, Telephone: +372 659 9841, E-mail: [email protected]

Ukrainian Cultural Centre combines paper-making, exhibitions and performances

On the initiative of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, hand-made paper-making workshops, performances and exhibitions have been organised since last autumn.

“In addition to making paper, we’ve been giving participants the chance to write down their thoughts about the integration process in Estonia, and the things that help and hinder it, from a variety of perspectives,” explained project manager Anatoli Ljutjuk. “In so doing they’ve had the chance to express their views on what kind of environment is most favourable for the fostering of tolerance, cooperation and positive attitudes.”

Ljutjuk describes the process further: “We gathered information about people’s experiences and ideas related to integration and the problems that come with it. We used ink, quills and hand-made paper, guided by a calligrapher, and came up with a collection of stories that we’ve turned into a hand-made book called Thoughts on Integration. It’s an actual book, too – properly bound and with a real cover.” The masterclasses were held at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Tartu Toy Museum, Jõhvi Culture & Hobby Centre, Narva Castle and Põlva Culture & Hobby Centre.

In the second phase of the project, which was launched in January, an exhibition of playthings was organised showcasing toys characteristic of Estonia, Russia and Ukraine. A performance entitled Toys Demonstrating Integration will also unfold on the stage of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in summer. “Toy-making workshops will be held while the exhibition and performances are running,” Ljutjuk said. “They’re a fantastic way of learning about other cultures and about the potential there is to enrich each other’s lives and work together.”

The exhibition, performances and masterclasses will be held at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Tartu Toy Museum, Jõhvi Culture & Hobby Centre, Narva Castle and Põlva Culture & Hobby Centre. The Ukrainian Cultural Centre also invites people to come and take part in the workshops.

The aim of the ‘Integration’ project of the Ukrainian Cultural Centre is to support the integration of third country nationals from within Europe and to increase awareness of the integration process and of the involvement of third country nationals in Estonian society and the country’s cultural space.

The project is being organised by the Ukrainian Cultural Centre and financed from the Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals from within Europe by the Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’ and from the state budget via the Ministry of Culture.

For further information please contact: Kaie Olmre-Hütt, Ukrainian Cultural Centre, E-mail: [email protected]

Azeri Sunday school to celebrate start of new solar year

Azeris around the world will be marking the start of the new solar year on 22 March, for which they (including those living in Estonia) start making preparations a month in advance.

Shahsanam Alijeva, director of the Azeri Sunday school, describes the start of a new solar year as the most important holiday for Azeris everywhere. ‘Nowruz’, as the day is known, is something the people of Azerbaijan celebrate regardless of whether they still live in their homeland.

Nowruz-themed lessons will start at the Sunday school in early March. The children will learn poems and new games, and in the middle of the month they will bake baklava and shekerbura, which are renowned Azeri sweets. “All the baking and egg-painting we’ll be doing is sure to be lots of fun for the kids, and make a nice change for them,” Alijeva said. “We’re also planning to put on a little performance with the kids which will talk about the history of Nowruz. On the day itself we’ll be putting on an impressive spread and celebrating with the parents as well. There’ll be a little concert, we’ll play games and of course we’ll have a good old chinwag!”

In fact, Nowruz festivities will begin in early March and continue throughout the month. Each Tuesday over four weeks will be dedicated to one of nature’s elements: su (water), od (fire), torpag (earth) and yel (wind). “Nowruz marks the start of the new year for the Azeri people,” Alijeva explained. “It’s said that the earth’s springs are renewed on the first Tuesday, and that the purest of pure water starts to flow from them. Then fire and earth and wind work together to bring the trees out into bud. All of this means the coming of spring.”

Many Azeri customs and games are associated with nature’s elements. “One of the most interesting customs we have is connected to fire,” Alijeva said. “Azerbaijan has been called the Land of Fire since ancient times. Every Tuesday we light fires and everyone has to jump over them. You’ve got to jump over a spring as well, or a river, which is representative of purifying yourself of the sins you committed in the previous year.” Azeris also have interesting – and delicious – rituals related to food and feasts, since any spread must include seven dishes starting with the letter ‘s’. Tables are also decorated with candles, a mirror and painted eggs, and a special place is reserved for a traditional sweet called samani.

Anyone interested in the start of the new solar year is invited to contact the Azeri Sunday school.

National culture association Sunday schools aim to preserve and foster the cultural diversity of national minorities and to promote the multiculturalism of Estonia to people living in the country.

The work and activities of such Sunday schools are supported from the budget of the Ministry of Culture via the Integration and Migration Foundation ‘Our People’.

For further information please contact: Shahsanam Alijeva, Director, Azeri Sunday School, E-mail: [email protected]