The Bill that provides specifications from the ordinary conditions for graduation as regards uppers secondary school examinations and provides for the opportunity to change the times of holding the examinations and to establish additional times for additional examinations as necessary passed the second reading at the sitting of the Riigikogu today.
The Bill on Amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act (349 SE), initiated by the Government, will make amendments to the Basic Schools and Upper Secondary Schools Act in view of the specifications of the organisation of studies in this academic year which in turn arise from the epidemiological situation due to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Therefore the Bill provides specifications from the ordinary conditions for graduation as regards uppers secondary school examinations and provides for the opportunity to change the times of holding the examinations and to establish additional times for additional examinations as necessary. It also provides for specifications in the organisation of the assessment of basic school and upper secondary school students for the academic year 2020/2021 and will create the opportunity to use descriptive verbal assessments instead of numerical grades to the extent of the entire basic school and upper secondary school.
According to an amendment included in the Bill in the course of the second reading, the passing of state examinations, internationally recognised examinations replacing them, a school examination of upper secondary school and a student’s research exercise or practical work will not be a condition for graduating from upper secondary school in this academic year. The time of the entry into force of the Act was also specified in the course of the second reading. As the first state examination will be held on 19 April, it is important that amendments to the organisation of examinations enter into force at the earliest opportunity, that is, on the date following the publication thereof in the Riigi Teataja.
Tarmo Kruusimäe took the floor during the debate.
Another Bill passed the second reading
According to the Bill on Amendments to the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act and the Social Tax Act (360 SE), initiated by the Government, the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act will be amended in order that additional funds could be allocated additionally to the reserve provided for in the Act. The share of creative person engaged in a liberal profession in the creative sector as a whole has increased and the ways of working have changed as well. The target group without a fixed employer is one of the labour market participants in the cultural sector who have suffered most.
The Bill will enable supports for creative activity to be paid to a greater number of creative persons and, in connection with the coronavirus crisis, the conditions for applying for the support will also be mitigated temporarily. Support for creative activity is a support in the amount of the minimum remuneration (584) paid during six months.
The requirement that persons who have received the support for creative activity should not apply for a new support within two years will be eliminated until the end of 2021. Such persons will also be entitled to receive the support for creative activity in the case when they have received income, work ability allowance or pension for incapacity for work in an amount of up to one support for creative activity in the month preceding the payment of the support for creative activity. Similar amendments were also made to the Act a year ago with the amendments that entered into force in spring 2020 but they were in force during the emergency situation and six months after the end thereof.
Permanent amendments concern the bases for the formation of the support to a creative association. The amendment provides that, in exceptional cases, the reserve of the support for creative activity may be increased from the state budget or the funds allocated therefor by the Government if the amount allocated on the basis provided for by the Act is not sufficient to pay supports for creative activity to those who need help.
Another permanent amendment provides that the Ministry of Culture will process the applications for supports to creative activity by creative persons engaged in a liberal profession who are not members of any creative association, and the ministry will also pay the supports. Under the current Act, this is the responsibility of creative associations. In addition, the procedure for the payment of social tax in a situation where a creative person is a member of several artistic associations at the same time will be specified.
The second reading of a Bill was adjourned due to the end of the sitting
The Bill on Amendments to the Health Services Organisation Act and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (355 SE), initiated by the Government, will establish the legal basis for the implementation of the measures relating to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. The finances for the measures will be ensured with the state’s supplementary budget for 2021.
The Bill provides for several regulations relating to COVID-19 that are necessary in order that persons were ensured smooth communication with administrative authorities or ensured the possibility to stay away from work when they are close contacts and to receive sickness benefit already starting from the second day of their sick leave.
The COVID-19 pandemic situation has given rise to the need to ensure a convenient solution by the health information system in order to certify certain confirmations concerning vaccination, a negative test result, etc. (“compliance certificate”). The amendment is among other things also connected with the European Union green digital certificate project.
Many countries have taken measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 that impose certain restrictions on people upon their entry into the country (e.g. obligation to self-isolate) and people must submit various documents such as medical certificates, test results or confirmations to meet different requirements. The scope of the green digital certificate project includes three cases of use: the certification of immunisation and recovery and the confirmation of a test result. Irrespective of the European Union green digital certificate project, Estonia wishes to enable a solution developed from the basis of the health information system data for its citizens. The activity will take place on the basis of the person’s wish (to generate a certificate and to allow it to be viewed or not). The time limits for preserving the data in the information system have been set out in the Health Services Organisation Act and medical data are preserved as a general rule for an indefinite period and a shorter time limit has been provided for for certain data. Since there will be no need to preserve the compliance certificates for an indefinite period, a shorter time limit is set out in the Bill.
During the debate, Priit Sibul (Isamaa), Tarmo Kruusimäe (Isamaa), Helmen Kütt (Social Democratic Party), Siim Pohlak (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kalle Grünthal (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Mart Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Helle-Moonika Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Lauri Läänemets (Social Democratic Party), Mihhail Lotman (Isamaa), Siret Kotka (Centre Party), Jevgeni Ossinovski (Social Democratic Party), Ruuben Kaalep (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Kert Kingo (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Paul Puustusmaa (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Martin Helme (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Eduard Odinets (Social Democratic Party), Henn Põlluaas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Urmas Reitelmann (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Raimond Kaljulaid (Social Democratic Party), Peeter Ernits (EKRE), Heljo Pikhof (Social Democratic Party), Riina Sikkut (Social Democratic Party), Merry Aart (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Leo Kunnas (Estonian Conservative People’s Party), Anti Poolamets (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) and Alar Laneman (Estonian Conservative People’s Party) took the floor.
Kütt and Pohlak moved to suspend the second reading of the Bill on behalf of their factions, but no vote was held due to the end of the sitting. The second reading of the Bill will continue at tomorrow’s sitting.
Due to the end of the sitting, the Bill on Amendments to the State Budget Act (356 SE), initiated by the Government, was also postponed to the following sitting. The amendments are connected with the implementation of the Act on the State’s Supplementary Budget for 2021.
Ministers’ replies to the interpellations submitted by members of the Riigikogu were also postponed.
Unscheduled statements were also omitted due to the end of the sitting.
The sitting ended at 12.00 midnight.
Verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian)
The video recording of the sitting will be available on the Riigikogu YouTube channel.
(Please note that the recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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