TOOMPEA. DECEMBER 13, 1999
Prime Minister Hosts a Roundtable on Farming Business
Agricultural vocational education was discussed primarily today at the Prime Minister`s Roundtable on Farming Business. The opinion that emerged was that duplication by schools must be reduced considerably. The quality of education offered by the vocational schools can be raised significantly when similar subjects are brought under one roof.
The Education Ministry`s proposal (Mati Kask, heads the vocational education department) would reduce the current 19 agricultural vocational schools to 11, which will specialize in certain subjects. A political decision to implement such a plan has not been made by the government.
The Education Minister said at the Roundtable that the special areas of agricultural business should not be regarded separately from other vocational education. He cited construction as an example, saying that it does not make sense to teach the construction of farm houses separately, because the technical and quality demands of contemporary construction are very high, and a person who completes instruction in that field, must be competitive in all building construction regardless of whether it is in the city or the country.
The question of acquiring practical experience for students of farming business was also discussed. It was agreed that collaboration between vocational schools and business is essential. The conditions in the practical area must meet completely the requirements that the graduate later faces at work.
It was also stated that agricultural business and related vocational education must be propagated, and the state and businesses must do their share in order that young people do not focus solely on city life.
The Prime Minister promised that at the next Roundtable higher education and science in agricultural business will be the topics.
Representatives from the Estonian Meat Association, The Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, the Estonian Private Forestry Union, the Association of Agricultural Producers, the Estonian Dairy Association, The Association of Estonian Farmers, directors of agricultural business schools, and parliamentarians from the coalition as well as the opposition are included in the Roundtable that meets with the Prime Minister.