Foreign languages in Estonia
The development of principles regulating foreign language study will be ensured through the implementation of the Estonian Foreign Language Strategy until the Year 2015, which will also contribute to the process of shaping the policies of the European Union regarding multilingualism. The cooperation with Estonian foreign language teachers’ associations is being intensified and the Ministry has supported the establishment of an umbrella organization for the foreign language teachers.
The document Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment has been sent to all of Estonia’s schools, universities and language centres. Training courses are held for teachers of Estonian as a second language and foreign language teachers on the subject of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and the European Language Portfolio (the system of language proficiency levels, determining the purposes of language study, formulating the study results, and assessing language proficiency). The best foreign language projects, foreign language learners and teachers are awarded the European Language Label. An international conference and exhibition of award-winning projects entitled Creativity in Language Teaching – Language Teaching for Creativity was organized in April 2009 in cooperation with the European Commission and the Archimedes Foundation.
Languages that have a long history of use in Estonia (the Russian of the Old Believers, Swedish, the Romani language, etc.) are supported through the Estonian Bureau of Lesser Used Languages. In May 2009, Estonia will host a seminar on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as well as the International Conference on Minority Languages XII, which will be supported and co-organized by the Ministry of Education and Research. For more information, see the website http://www.icml.ut.ee/.