The Minister of Education and Research Jaak Aaviksoo replied to the interpellation concerning tools and safety in teaching practical subjects (No 336), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Mailis Reps, Aadu Must, Viktor Vassiljev, Kadri Simson, Aivar Riisalu, Valeri Korb, Lauri Laasi, Peeter Võsa and Ester Tuiksoo on 13 May.
The interpellators noted that teachers cannot update the subject and content of crafts in the school and they no longer have the motivation to teach the subject because it is complicated, if not impossible, to procure additional technological equipment. So far, one public procurement has been conducted to supply all schools in Estonia with electric craft tools. Unfortunately they have become depreciated by now and would need replacement. The interpellators wished to know the Minister’s position on the organisation of the teaching of crafts in the school.
According to Aaviksoo’s explanations, the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act provides unambiguously the duties of the owner of the school in ensuring school education and in the financing of schools, and the duties of the state. The state financing as regards tools is the responsibility of the owner of the school.
Aaviksoo noted that crafts are taught in grades 1‒3 according to the national curriculum. In his words, eight objectives have been set to teaching this subject. The most important of them are to offer the pupils of the first stage of study joy and satisfaction from working and to direct them to observe, feel and appreciate the environment of objects and to work safely alone and together with others. A pupil of that age must know how to maintain cleanliness at home and school and to comply with hygiene requirements, be aware of the need for healthy eating, and care for the cultural traditions of his or her home neighbourhood and Estonia.
“Such initial introduction into the sphere of work enables to develop, in this stage of study, habits on which more specific technological skills are to be built in the later, the second and third stages of study. However, particularly in this stage of study, these objectives require professional creativity from the teacher in teaching the subject with means suitable for the pupil’s age so that he or she would learn to think out creative solutions and would realise them easily. Creative solutions do not require the skill to use special tools in that age,” the Minister said. He admitted that the Ministry of Education and Research had indeed conducted public procurements but these public procurements had been stopped for the simple reason that the needs of schools vary very widely and standardised solutions are not considered reasonable or purposeful. Aaviksoo also discussed different aspects related to the organisation of the teaching of crafts in the school and highlighted the importance of the practical side in the organisation of the subject.
During the open microphone, Heimar Lenk, Marika Tuus-Laul, Kalev Kallo and Mihhail Stalnuhhin took the floor.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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